The experience of searching and applying for graduate jobs in the legal domain is certainly different for every student. However, it could be reassuring to hear about someone else’s experience to better understand the process and manage your expectations accordingly. Matthew, who graduated in 2020, has kindly agreed to share his experience. Matthew has been completing his LPC and is due to start a training contract at Latham & Watkins. In this first of two blogs, he offers his personal insights on the entire process.
How was your experience of finding a graduate job?
“I probably started thinking about applying for vacation schemes in the break between first and second year. I had an idea of which law firms I was interested in and made a note of their application windows – I think since I was looking at spring/summer schemes, you could apply between October and very early January. Once term started, I went along to a handful of evening presentations at firms’ offices and also signed up for a dinner and networking event at Macfarlanes and a mock assessment centre at Latham & Watkins.
In the end I submitted four applications… in hindsight a risky strategy. I had two video interviews: the first was disastrous; the second was, fortunately, slightly better because I knew what to expect and practised over and over with the test question you’re given before the interview starts. After completing an assessment centre, I got a place on Latham’s spring vacation scheme and was offered a training contract shortly after (a welcome surprise before the Property II exam). I accepted and I’m looking forward to starting this August!”
More generally I’d say that because the quality of teaching on the LSE Law courses is so high, you’re well-equipped to handle whatever gets thrown at you at an assessment centre.
How did LSE help you in finding a graduate job?
“The LSE Careers resources were well worth getting familiar with. There’s a list of upcoming recruitment events on CareerHub (and I think you can filter this by sector, e.g “law”), with details on how you register and what to expect. Provided that you do a little bit of reading up before each event these can be really useful. I also booked a CV review and a mock interview; as well as helping me improve my technique, they also did a lot to calm my nerves.
The LSESU societies I was involved with also helped. The Negotiation Society ran a series of workshops, one of which was a mock M&A negotiation based on the (abandoned) Asda/Sainsbury’s merger and judged by a partner at Baker McKenzie. The International Arbitration Society’s annual arbitration academy and arbitration moot were also really interesting and were a good talking point in a couple of my interviews.
More generally I’d say that because the quality of teaching on the LSE Law courses is so high, you’re well-equipped to handle whatever gets thrown at you at an assessment centre. Understanding basic insolvency and commercial contracting principles was definitely handy when I had to comment on a particular fact pattern or news story.”