Nisha Beerjeraz, ex-BPP LPC student

Britain's got talent

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  • Well said!

    I have done work experience at 7 law firms, niche, regional & in- house. I have done pro- bono, I have written for several websites, I have a stong 2:1, my place confirmed for the LPC yet still no training contract......the reasons stated by the rejections are 'i am sorry but we have taken the decision not to recruit this year'.

    For others, like me, who have undertaken unpaid work experience, got into serious debt to pursue a dream career as a lawyer are being replaced by the (I would argue....upper class) who just happen to 'fall into' the profession through family, friends and contacts.

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  • This blogger's attitude towards the profession is frankly pitiful.

    If I may hazard a guess at why she wrote her own epitaph:

    For one, in the hope that one of the firms to whom she has applied will read this and think: "Here is someone we must save from the recession". She is deluded as is demonstrated by this:

    “Why, then did I continue on a crumbling path? Because I thought that only the strongest would realise that crumbling blocks can still be stacked to make a rather rocky yet workable road”.

    Any reputable firm's graduate recruitment department reading this will settle on the opinion that she doesn't want the job enough. No-one likes a whinger. In any case, failing to display the tenacity and persistence that is required of a working solicitor is reason enough to not invite someone for interview. I know the marketplace is tough right now, but you must see this as an opportunity to be stronger and wiser than your peers. This blog has not in any way demonstrated that.

    Alternatively, she has failed to realise that perhaps the reason why she is not successful in securing a training contract is her own problem, and not brought on by the recession or increased competition form would-be bankers. The increased competition for TC's is from better qualified candidates who have more experience in business than this blogger may have. Anyone worth a damn in this profession knows that the top firms are looking for candidates who have displayed business acumen, not an ability to get a 2:1 and pass the un-failable LPC. Law firms are client-focused businesses. A failure to realise that the profession is becoming more and more about business and the client and less about the black-letter law is the quickest route to rejection.

    My advice: Stop whining, get some non-legal experience if you really want something and you work hard enough at it, you will eventually succeed.

    And shame on you for describing working as a secretary, retail assistant or call centre worker as "humiliating". No person has the right to make such a disgraceful and patronising comment.

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  • While I do sympathise with you, I do think you need to change your attitude.

    Your thinking that working as secretaries, retail assistants and call-centre workers is humiliating is awful. Remove that huge chip on your shoulder.

    Competition for TCs has always been tough. No-one owes you anything. Just because you have a law degree and have legal experience does not automatically give you the right to have a TC. You got to fight hard for it.

    At a guess your applications probably come across as bitter and trying too hard to impress. Do you have the qualities to be a trainee? You probably do. Are you getting that across in these applications? Probably not.

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  • One solution: abolish the GDL! lol

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  • RE: Inglourious Bar steward

    'here is someone we must save from the recession'............I highly doubt that the blogger is launching a campaign of this nature- she is simply illustrating her frustration at the current trainee climate

    'she doesnt want the job enough'........as the comment by 'anon' demonstrated......what more can some people do? Even with a wealth of experience candidates are still unable to gain t.contracts

    'better qualified, more experience'.......I am sure that some t.contracts are going to the more qualified candidates.....however...I wonder what percentage are going to those from a private education, well spoken with mummy and daddy's money to fund their mind blowing CV's? I know of many that did one or two vacation schemes and got the t.contract!

    'humiliating/patronising'......I hardly think the blogger intended for this portrayal.....rather she is simply stating that having completed a law degree and passed the LPC....she expects a wider range of opportunity than work as a secretary or in retail....not that there is anything wrong about these jobs at all......but on a parallel, you wouldnt spend the time and effort and money doing two degrees to then work stacking shelves.....this is in no way patronising!

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  • Abolish the GDL? Err, nice one. It's there for a reason - because legal recruiters want well rounded candidates and not just an intake of one dimensional law students with zero experience in any other commercial area that can be utilised and used to the firm's advantage.

    I do sympathise with students who have just completed undergraduate degrees in law and who are finding it difficult, but to blame those who have turned to the profession late and converted is an incredibly flawed argument since training contracts (on the whole) are awarded on merit and to those who demonstrate that they will make great trainees and show signs of becoming excellent commercial lawyers. Jobs in any field have never gone to the person who has ‘dreamt and wanted it for the longest’ - that would just be silly. Likewise with banking, the graduate jobs at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan did not go to those who had taken more ‘right steps’ towards that career – they went to the best candidates.

    I graduated with an Economics degree from a top university in 2007. I then started on a graduate scheme at an Investment Bank which taught me a tremendous amount about the city and in particular about corporate finance and the markets. After spending just over a year there I grew tired of getting into the office each day for 6:30 and doing 15/16 hour days regularly. So I jumped ship and signed up to the GDL having heard good things about it from my peers. I thought law would be an interesting career that would offer me flexibility and security as well as prestige. During my GDL I applied for training contracts, naturally targeting my applications to the city firms who would be attracted to my experience. Fortunately I secured a number of assessment centres and interviews which I performed well in. Why did I do so well? Because I had solid commercial experience and knowledge which as a result meant that I was an excellent candidate for a commercial training contract and in my opinion would make a far more suitable trainee than someone who has only studied law. I accepted a training contract at a magic circle firm which I am due to start at next year.

    I have never worked in a law firm however I have many, many friends who do and there overall impression is that there is actually comparatively little ‘law’ required in their day to day jobs – it is far more about commercial knowledge, skills and precedents which is why law firms and their clients prefer trainees / lawyers with business acumen and an awareness of the competitive marketplace in which they operate in. Quite frankly, those “who did not make a pit stop at investment banking” I would argue are weaker candidates when competing with former financiers to get corporate training contracts at the top firms. I am fed up of so many comments and articles on numerous boards bleating on about how I somehow will not make as good a lawyer as them because I didn’t study law at undergraduate level. Utter rubbish – I am a better candidate, which is why I got the job.

    My advice to law students who are struggling to get training contracts is not to moan about it but actually ask yourselves why you are not getting them and examine why other people (i.e. newbies to law who would normally consider banking as a career) are getting them. The answer nine times out of ten is their commercial experience and business outlook. The training market is extremely tough at the moment and so if you do not get one this time round, try and get some solid commercial experience so that you can come back raring to go this time next year and can actually offer something useful to firms rather than a dry knowledge of law, all of the important parts which can be taught to converters quickly. It would be a far advantageous to you than moaning.

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  • So it appears that all the bankers, having ruined the financial industry and the economy are now moving over to dominate the legal profession!!!

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  • RE: Anon @ 10.17pm yesterday:

    First and foremost, your post reads like it was written by the blogger herself, who should know better than to veil herself in anonymity. I will accordingly address this post to the blogger.

    Stop “illustrating your frustration at the current trainee climate” and take a look in the mirror. Is it not in any way possible that your bitterness and contempt for the profession has seeped into your applications and interviews? Of course it is. Sort your head out and vent your feelings towards the profession privately, not on highly popular legal news outlets, and certainly not in interviews.


    “I wonder what percentage are going to those from a private education, well spoken with mummy and daddy's money to fund their mind blowing CV's? I know of many that did one or two vacation schemes and got the t.contract!” - I know of people that did not even one vacation scheme and got a TC. Those are rare cases of exceptional candidates who are snapped up by a firm that does not want to miss out. Once again, your bitterness towards others who may have had a little help from parents is disgraceful. I can’t think of a single law firm who would employ someone in any capacity who had your jealous streak. There are examples throughout the world of people from less privileged backgrounds getting to the top – one of them has a name that rhymes with “Osama”. I suggest you take a look at his book.

    As for the rebuttal of “humiliating/patronising” – I am not the only person on this forum to read the blogger’s comment in this fashion. She has failed to master the most important of legal skills – CLARITY! In any case, beggars can’t be choosers, and as it stands right now, this blogger is most certainly classified as a training contract beggar.

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  • RE:

    Veiling myself in anonymity.....sorry correct me if im mistaken but I highly doubt Inglourious bar steward is your actual name!!!

    Your example of people rising to the top, 'Osama'....it shouldnt be the case that people from less privileged backgrounds who rise to the top are seen special examples or illustrations....it should be the norm! It is because of the class dominance that anyone from a particularly tough background is celebrated just for doing what should be readily achievable!

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  • I think it is apparent by the wealth of acrimonious comments here that the recession is biting hard, and is affecting everyone. I do have to agree with 'posh chap' regarding his statement regarding the relevance of commercial experience, but I strongly believe people shouldn't move to law because they fancy a change. I believe committed law graduates deserve a TC far more than someone who has just done it off the cuff because they 'got tired' of their previous job in investment banking.

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  • Although I do share some sympathy for this columnist, finding herself saddled with debt having achieved what is ultimately a pretty useless degree unless continues with a position in the legal market, I think it's a bit rich to say that the Law Society only stood up this year to warn students about following the path.

    When I signed up to the LPC I, too, had no training contract and had to take out a massive loan to cover it. The literature I received from the Law Society made it very clear, even then, that the Law Society strongly recommended students against taking the LPC without a training contract. Thankfully, I did get a training contract within a period of a few weeks ... but I find it difficult to believe that any LPC student would think a training contract was ever guaranteed!

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  • we won't discuss the pupillage scene, it will only depress everyone further...

    as for the blogger, in the legal profession the best possible advice i received was 'hope for the best, expect the worst and whatever happens, chin up'.

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  • "A failure to realise that the profession is becoming more and more about business and the client and less about the black-letter law is the quickest route to rejection."

    The nail has been firmly struck with this comment.
    Clients view the law and legal services as nothing more than a resource to achieve commercial objectives i.e. Become more efficient in making money.
    Other than being organised and resourcesful a successful solicitor requires a seasonsed understanding of the environment in which Clients operate and how the law can be utilised to acheive commercial objectives.

    There's far too much emphasis on the semantics of legal principles instead of the requirement to be able to apply them in a practical commercial sense. If you want to debate by all means become a barrister.

    As for "working as secretaries, retail assistants and call-centre workers" surely time spent in these occupations could be utilised and translated onto a CV and cover letter as providing you with some solid experience of how the law helps a business operate.

    Good luck and all the best for your career.

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  • Why the bitterness? Regardless of who has entered the competition to become a lawyer it still stands as you so eloquently put it... "only the strongest would realise that crumbling blocks can still be stacked to make a rather rocky yet workable road". Clearly you didn't actually believe in those words and now you seem to have lost faith in the profession. Sorry to bring home the truth but those bankers who are taking up the training contracts are doing so on merit, if you're not getting any offers it's simply because you're not quite up to scratch.

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  • "Only after the majority of law firms have deferred their graduate recruitment to next year "

    Has nobody else noticed this comment? Most firms haven't deferred their intakes, some firms have and this has been blown out of all proportion by the likes of The Lawyer and other legal publications. As America shows, fear sells.

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  • It is easy to insult her for expressing her feelings openly. It is also easy to say, compete, compete.

    The question is, is there a way the unemployed law graduates can form a group and organise how to escape this mess?

    For instance, can the unemployed law graduates in the UK find a way of getting admission in developing nations and then offer their legal services there? Or, once they qualify, can they snatch work from lawyers in the UK?

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  • I really don't want to comment on everything in the article plus people's opinions, but I must point one thing out. I do not think that the blogger is suggesting that working as a call centre worker is humiliating. She is suggesting, and I agree with her, that committing 30,000 pounds to a course to be a solicitor, and then ending up working in a call centre, is humiliating. Can anyone here really dispute that?

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  • I fully agree with the blogger, committing £30,000 to training/education and being left handed is indeed unfortunate. However, I for one am becoming tired of hearing students lament about the lack of prospects or that so and so has a training contract due to family/contacts.

    I went to a state school and did not have financial support from my parents but still managed to get into a top university and achieve a first and a training contract. I'm tired of people making excuses: the simply and hard truth to swallow is that law is a competitive industry and those left empty-handed were simply not good enough. To the original poster who had undertaken vacation schemes at 7 firms, I would question just what you did that made 7 firms not take you on despite having you on a vacation scheme?

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  • I am amused by the poster who believes that the U.S.-style of qualification would result in less of a glut of lawyers in the U.K. We have our own glut of lawyers in the U.S. Many "Big Law" firms are laying off 2nd to 4th year associates. Others are deferring the start dates for incoming associates. Thousands of recent graduates have no jobs irrespective of the size of the firms to which they may apply, and no reasonable expectation of a legal job of any kind in the near future.

    One essential difference, however -- these newly-minted lawyers have financed their law school education (which, in the U.S., is always a doctoral degree program containing 3 years of full time post-baccalaureate study), and emerge from law school with as much as U.S.$150,000 in student debt, with no certainty that they will pass the bar examination and be allowed to practice law in their state.

    Be careful of what you wish for....

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  • '...suffer the humiliation of working as secretaries, retail assistants and call-centre workers...'

    Who the hell do you think you are? If you ever make it to fee-earner, I pity your secretary.

    No-one *wants* to be left high-and dry. There are plenty of people in a similar position to you, who are dealing with it with substantially more dignity. A job, any job is a blessing in the current climate, especially if you're carrying debt. If you think you've got it tough, try being a trainee approaching qualification without a permanent seat to go to. That's a particularly soul-destroying position to be in.

    Rather than it being everyone's fault, have you paused to wonder why you don't sufficiently stand out from the crowd? Perhaps one of these 'humiliating' jobs may give you a bit of experience and teach you a few things that law school didn't.

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