If your dream is to become a solicitor, you will have to apply for a training contract before you can practice law. For those who are interested in finance, it is important to be prepared for the competition because getting a contract in this industry is not easy.
In order to acquire a law training contract in finance, you have to begin the search for jobs early. Many legal teams start to look for the right candidates far in advance. For instance, a quick search for open law training jobs online reveals that some teams are already looking to fill jobs for next year.
Timing is everything as you plan your next steps in finance law. Most law students start looking for contracts one to two years in advance. For now, you must complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before you can start a training contract. However, by 2020, new rules will go into effect, so you will have to complete the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The SQE will have two parts including large exams.
When many students think about obtaining a law training contract in finance, they focus on banks. But there are many options in the finance category for you to consider. According to Maryville University, the finance industry also includes insurance, government agencies, government regulatory firms, mortgage services and lenders, financial planning and personal finance advising, which all require lawyers.
Consider the need for lawyers in the lending industry for a moment. There is a large amount of paperwork and documentation involved in the process, and lawyers are essential. Hedge funds that are involved in lending need even more help. Usually, lawyers draft the papers, offer advice during the process and examine the contracts.
After you have selected one or more finance categories that you want to pursue, the next step is to choose a law firm for your training contract. It may be helpful to have a longer list of law firms in case your top choice does not work out. Keep in mind that there are always more law students looking for training contracts than positions, so the field is competitive.
Most people want to choose a law firm that is likely to hire them after the training period is over. However, it is difficult to predict if a job will be open two years in advance. You may want to look at law job search websites or the TSL Job Board and see which law firms seem to hire on a regular basis. This can indicate growth and a higher chance of you finding work with them in the future.
Some other factors to consider when you are looking at law firms include the size of the legal team and who you will work with closely. It is important to figure out if you prefer a traditional law firm or an in-house one that works in other parts of finance.
The next step is submitting your training contract applications to the law firms you selected. Make sure you tailor it to the firm you chose. Most applications will have a combination of personal and law questions. They will ask you to provide details about your background, education, skills and why you want to work for a particular firm. Applications may also include commercial awareness questions to see if you understand the finance industry and are aware of legal trends.
You will have to include a cover letter with your application, and it is an opportunity to show your best qualities. In general, the letter should be about a page and should be similar to a law personal statement. Include why you want to have a training contract at this particular firm and why you are qualified for it. Work your skills, talents and education into the cover letter to show you would be a good fit for the legal team.
Most applications will also ask for your CV (curriculum vitae). This is where you can list your personal details, grades, schools, work experience, achievements and extracurricular activities in detail. You should include at least two references who can speak about you.
If you need help with your application and come from a background that is traditionally underrepresented in the legal industry, be sure to check out the TSL Mentorship Scheme for the chance to be assigned a personal mentor to help you with your applications throughout the year.
There are three main types of interviews for training contracts: in person, telephone and videos. The in person interview is the most common, and you will meet with members of the law firm. Telephone interviews and video conferences usually happen in the early stages as the law firm picks its candidates for in person interviews. Make sure you practice the interviews before you have them with a friend or family. Obtaining a law training contract in finance is possible, but it is a competitive field with a lot of hard work.