I read with interest the article in The Lawyer (15 October) headlined "Brains top the list of trainee requirements". It saddens me that academic intelligence continues to rank as the most important requirement for selecting trainee solicitors when prospective candidates have so much more to offer.
Having filled in numerous application forms this summer, I am in no doubt that the way academic intelligence is assessed is by looking at A-level or equivalent results. I feel that my A-level results, while good enough to secure my place on an LLB course at the university of my choice, do not reflect the type of person I have matured into over the past two years at university. In both years my results were reaching 2:1 standard – yet I feel that this is partly ignored by those selecting trainee solicitors.
I acknowledge the need for intellectual ability in this field. However, I believe it could be assessed by looking at more recent results and achievements. In the past two years, for example, I have been elected twice as a Student Representative, have won my university's internal mooting competition and have been elected master of the moots.
Skills such as foreign languages, common sense and dedication to the profession should be considered on a par with intellectual ability. I speak French and German fluently, credit myself with a degree of common sense and have only ever wanted to join the legal profession. All I have achieved in the past two years seems of no avail simply because of results two-and-a-half years ago that I cannot change.
I would like to see a change in the format of application forms so that A-level results are less prominent and more emphasis is placed on recent achievements. It seems unjust to judge me on what I was like when I was 18 or 19. Many excellent candidates for trainee solicitors are falling at the first hurdle because of old results.
Sandra C Davies
(3rd year LLB Business Law, Coventry University).