We recently caught up with Myriam about her route from studying an LPC MSc at The University of Law into securing a training contract.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Myriam, I am a future trainee solicitor at a London commercial law firm (and very excited about it!).
I was born and raised in the Netherlands with Iraqi parents and moved to London in 2007. My passion for law started with a childhood promise between two best friends to become lawyers together. After years of deliberations about a career, I finally decided to go for law in my last year of sixth form 3 months after submitting my UCAS application. So that wasn’t stressful.
Describe your journey from starting an LPC MSc to securing a training contract.
I decided to start my LPC MSc while having no prospects of a successful application for a training contract. This was quite daunting at the time, but I thought if I could just get all my qualifications completed it might make for a more rounded application.
The LPC itself was a demanding course, the deadlines within the year certainly tested my organisational skills. It didn’t help that there was a pandemic on so I had little escape. However, my tutors were second to none in their support and guidance. If I had a bad day where I was doubting my life choices (this happened more often that I’d like to admit) my tutors stood ready to ground me and remind me that I am capable of achieving my dreams!
After finishing my LPC MSc, I still didn’t have a training contract secured but found a job to keep me secure until I found one. This was such a blessing because I was able to develop lots of skills which I then used in my applications.
In November 2021, 6 months after finishing the LPC MSc, I made my application to a London commercial law firm which I had been researching for a while. The application process was made up of several stages. Kindly, the law firm put me in touch with one of their current trainees who guided me with lots of helpful advice!
After submitting the application, I was invited to do a pre-recorded interview followed by an assessment centre, partner interview and finally a week long vacation scheme in the London office.
Eventually in September 2022, I found out I had secured a training contract (cue ugly crying for 1 week straight!) It is definitely my biggest achievement!
Why did you choose The University of Law for this route?
I completed my LLB Law degree at The University of Law and really loved the teaching style, dedication to careers and tutor support. The way the University teaches, sets you up for a career in law so well it didn’t make sense for me to do the course anywhere else (plus there was an alumni discount which I wasn’t going to throw away!).
What has surprised you most about being a trainee?
Well, I am very much looking forward to being a full time trainee ! However, I have done two vacation schemes where I got a small insight into it. I think I was very afraid of not knowing enough law or processes before going into a law firm. So I was surprised and eased by the fact that firms do appreciate it is a learning process.
Something else I was surprised by was just how nice the solicitors are! There is a stereotype that the legal career is competitive and therefore cut-throat. But actually, I’ve found that the solicitors I’ve met over the past years have all been inviting and so eager to help.
What’s been your favourite project/thing you’re most proud of from your time so far?
Is it too cheesy to say getting a training contract? The reason I’m so proud is because it was a gruelling process for me, because I was so disorganised from the beginning. I remember the first training contract application I did in my second year of undergrad. I think I wrote a 2 line answer to ‘why are you applying to this firm.’
It took a lot of effort to keep applying for this career after 3 years of solid rejections and not even an interview to show for it. There were definitely times where I thought of other paths, but the passion was there and I couldn’t bring myself to abandon it.
What top tips would give you those who are following a similar path to yours or wanting to secure a training contract?
There are so many top tips out there for people wanting to become solicitors. My top tips below are based on what I would genuinely do differently if I could go back in time.
Network: Make one! Use LinkedIn and attend legal events to meet people and let them know if you are looking for advice and recommendations. You might just come across some people eager to help you on your journey. I certainly did, shoutout to Mark.
Minimal applications: Studying the LPC was stressful and I was still continuing bad habits, the biggest one being applying to 10+ firms for training contracts. Once I sought some career advice I decided to start the new recruitment cycle by applying to just one firm. This was a high-risk decision but it ended up paying off. Hopefully what this shows is that the less applications you make the more time you can dedicate to each one. This makes it a much better application and the result, hopefully, is a training contract offer!
Now I always advise people to apply to a maximum of 5 firms to really personalise each application.
Research and organisation: I once got some great advice to create a training contract recruitment cycle calendar. On this, try recording all the relevant dates for example, the day applications open, application deadlines, when you want to complete your application by and when you want to schedule employability appointments.
The application: One thing I used to do, and look back at now and think WHAT were you thinking was copying and pasting my answers to the questions. Many law firms use similar questions in their applications, so I thought it was a good idea to write up a model answer and paste it into 10 different application. I am cringing at the thought of it now.
What I have learned since then is that this is common practice but it is also so obvious to grad recruiters when this is done. Now I would say your application needs to be so specific, that if the name of the firm is taken out, it should still be evident which firm you are talking about.
Also, make sure you are keeping multiple copies of your application (4, if you’re as paranoid as me).
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to say a big good luck to everyone who is pursuing a career in law. I have spoken a lot about what I did in this article, but truthfully I wouldn’t be where I am without the network I have. The people that helped and guided me throughout the entire process, they were the real heroes. (Mostly because they had to deal with my breakdowns - oops). Special shoutout to my network of family and friends.
I want to also add, the timeline to become a solicitor or barrister is overrated! I’m starting my training contract 3 years after graduating my LPC MSc and it has become the biggest blessing for me. The process is filled with pressure as it is, don’t let time be another.
FYI: The LPC is currently being phased out and replaced with the SQE so make sure you’re mindful of your options available when coming to complete a postgraduate course. More information about this can be found back on The University of Law’s profile.