The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

attractive but look at the long-term prospects and quality of training too.

Students should ignore where their peers are looking to apply – what suits one person will not necessarily suit another. Laura Newton, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers , says: “Try to get a feel for different sets yourself, rather than relying solely on their reputation or word of mouth. You may find that a day or a week in chambers gives a completely different impression of a set from your preconception.” Learn more about what a pupil’s life at each of these might be like by reading “Types of chambers” on p438. What other factors are important? When considering applying for a training contract or pupillage, you might also want to bear in mind the following factors: • the work area/s you will experience on the training programme or pupillage; • the expectations of you as a trainee/pupil; • the firm or set’s overall reputation in the legal market; • any awards received (LawCareers.Net profiles of firms recognised for training and recruitment); • any impending changes such as mergers that may affect the firm or set’s future; • any financial help offered during postgraduate training;

Many firms and chambers will hold events at your university/college campus, such as workshops, seminars and networking events at which you can learn about their work, clients and culture. You can also attend open days and go on work placement schemes and mini-pupillages, as well as do online research. And in the wake of coronavirus, more and more virtual events are taking place too, so you can network with lawyers and gain insights into employers without leaving the house. Michelle Ruddle, recruitment marketing manager at Hogan Lovells , explains that your first step must be to seriously analyse and think carefully about what you want from your career: “Ask yourself questions, such as: ‘Why do I want to be a lawyer?’; ‘What kind of work environment suits me?’; ‘What motivates me?’; and ‘What appeals to me about international, regional or niche firms?’” With that in mind, let’s leave you with a quick- fire checklist for easy reference: • Type – commercial or high street? • Size – law factory or local firm? • Focus – highly specialised or a wide range of clients/practice areas? • Location – City or regional? • ‘Feel’ – high pressure or relaxed?

• trainee/pupil retention rates; • the firm or set’s client base;

• the salary on offer and any benefits; and • future opportunities and remuneration.

Caroline Lindner, senior manager global communications and engagement, and former trainee recruitment manager, at Norton Rose Fulbright , suggests not being too swayed by the much-touted “work-life balance” factor: “All lawyers work very hard and you will work long hours at times, so you need to accept this. Some firms, however, are better at encouraging their trainees to get involved with pro bono, social activities, sports teams and so on, so you should look at this aspect if it’s important to you.” Equally, don’t be entirely swayed by salary: a higher salary might be


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