The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Key competencies

brainpower is to talk coherently about current affairs, showing that you have background knowledge, can understand context and draw rational conclusions. Determination There’s no denying that getting a job in the legal profession is very competitive and therefore a healthy dose of ambition is crucial to success. Securing a training contract or pupillage is just the beginning – the hard work and pressure really begin at that point, so you must be able to show that you’re the type of person who is determined to make it as a successful lawyer and can take the sustained heat. How to demonstrate: Achievements of the highest order, activities involving tenacious perseverance, picking yourself up from a sports team loss or job rejection – if there is anything you’ve done in the past that you can’t quite believe you managed to do, mention it. You can also talk about how you juggled a job through your A levels and degree, or your sustained commitment to an extracurricular pursuit such as a musical instrument. Attention to detail A slapdash lawyer is a bad lawyer. Legal professionals must work accurately and concisely, spot and resolve mistakes, and go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. Proofreading is something that comes naturally to lawyers, as almost every element of the job involves accurate written work. How to demonstrate: The best way to prove your eagle-eyed credentials is to produce a flawless and error-free application form. Check, check and check again! Within your form, you could describe a computer program that you have written featuring thousands of lines of code, any one of which could have stopped it from working; or discuss your organisation of a football league, including

Most legal recruiters want broadly the same thing – to hire excellent lawyers – and all look for key competencies when hiring to help them identify who those potential recruits might be. Therefore, the trick to landing a training contract or pupillage is showing recruiters that you have as many of those key skills as possible. So, what does a successful lawyer look like? Different roles within the profession will place varying emphasis on the following skills, but you can be confident that all are extremely desirable when you are being assessed for suitability. In this section, we look at the many ways you can sell yourself to recruiters and demonstrate how to identify the attributes that you have and employers want. Academic ability Lawyers are involved daily with challenging material and work that stretches their intellectual capabilities. They must have the mental capacity to process complicated information, draw inferences and form conclusions. Inevitably, recruiters use your academic results as the main indicator of your intellect; having impressive A levels and being on track for at least a 2:1 is a great first step (although be aware that this alone will not be enough to distinguish you from the thousands of others who have also done well). How to demonstrate: The obvious answer is your school and university performance – it is likely to be the first thing that a prospective employer looks at and for many top firms, it is the easiest way to whittle down candidates from hundreds of applications. Your results must be good; don’t shy away from highlighting the grades that show you off in the best possible light. For career changers, whose exam results are far in the past and don’t necessarily reflect their current skills and experience, evidence of professional achievements and qualifications is valuable. Another way to prove your



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