After landing a training contract I thought Id never need to do a job interview ever again. Unfortunately, that wasnt the case.
As I approached qualification I realised that the department I wanted to qualify into was oversubscribed. That meant yet another interview to convince my firm that I deserved the job more than the other trainees who were competing against me.
Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones and secured a newly qualified position in my first-choice department. But it soon made me realise that a training contract is essentially a two-year apprenticeship and there are no guarantees that youll have a job afterwards.
So when youre researching the firms you plan to apply to its worth finding out what their newly qualified solicitor retention rates are. Firms are generally happy to disclose this information.
As we reported on Lawyer2B.com on Monday (16 June) the credit crunch has failed to have an impact on retention rates for September 2008 qualifiers, with early indications from a cross-section of firms showing an overall improvement of last year (see story)
Remember to use retention rates cautiously, however, because they can become easily distorted. For instance, if a firm has a small trainee intake and a couple of trainees leave upon qualification it will have a dramatic impact on its retention rates. Its therefore worth probing firms further by asking them the following: how many trainees are due to qualify in September? How many were offered jobs in their first-choice departments? How many decided to leave the firm and why? Were any departments oversubscribed?
The other Lawyer2B.com story on everyones lips this week is the publication of a survey, which revealed that the number of LLB students graduating with a first or 2:1 has doubled in the last 20 years (see story).
Do you think your generation has it easy? Or is it just as challenging to get a first of 2:1 as it was 20 years ago? Let me know and join the debate.