legal career guide

4. Researching legal recruiters

StEP 4

This Step looks at why research is so fundamental at all stages of the recruitment process and how research can help you find vacancies and opportunities within the legal market.

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Practice areas and sectors

Look at the practice areas section of our site which includes links to relevant specialist publications or websites. This will give you an idea of what it is like to work in various areas of law.

Read graduate guides to the legal profession such as Chambers Student Guide, Target Law and LawCareers.Net.

Law firms, chambers and leading individuals

Legal recruiters tell us that one of the main reasons that applications fail is because candidates have failed to carry out sufficient research to enable them to target their applications correctly. Therefore, researching the firms and chambers you are interested in is a high priority.

There are hundreds of potential recruiters, not just the leading firms and chambers, so don’t forget to research all relevant opportunities.

Your research can be done by looking at the organisation’s website as well as the following sources;

  • Graduate guides – Useful for larger firms and chambers. Take a look at Chambers Student Guide, Target Law and LawCareers.Net.
  • Client directories – Aimed at those seeking legal advisors and are therefore not restricted to organisations which are currently recruiting – Chambers UK and Legal 500 are two of the best known.
  • Find a solicitorThe Law Society has information about every practising solicitor and the firms they work in.
  • Online Bar DirectoryJuriosity information about practising barristers.
  • Legal press – Provides information on firms and chambers. Try reading The Lawyer, Legal Week and The Law Society Gazette. For the Bar, key publications are the Counsel Magazine and the New Law Journal (both of these have limited free access to their content online).

Finding vacancies

Solicitors

There is no single place where all training contracts are advertised, however there are a number of key resources you should be familiar with, including:

  • Employability Portal – Once you accept a place with us you will have access to our password protected vacancy database.
  • Vacancies with larger recruiters – Look at Chambers Student Guide, Target Law, LawCareers.Net.
  • Contract vacancies - The Law Society Gazette sometimes has training contract vacancies (usually in smaller firms and local government), as do the other legal press publications mentioned above.
  • Email alerts – Check employers’ websites on a regular basis. Some allow you to sign up for email alerts to let you know when there is a new vacancy.

You can make direct and speculative applications to organisation which are not currently advertising, that you have an interest in.

Barristers

For the Bar, all first and second 6 pupillages must be advertised on the Pupillage Gateway, although they may also be advertised elsewhere.

Activity

Download the checklist below to start to identify organisations you want to apply to. If you have already applied, you can use it to check your knowledge before your interview.

Download Law Firm Research Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to information on our website, other useful sources include Chambers & Partners, Target law and lawcareers.net.

Chambers and Partners lists firms according to specialist areas. The Legal 500 contains information about the leading firms according to specialist areas by regions. The ‘Find a Solicitor’ function on the Law Society’s website allows you to search by area of law.

A good starting point is the ‘Find a Solicitor’ function on the Law Society’s website allows you to search by area of law and geographical location.

Next step: 5

Go to step 5 in the Student Employability Programme.

Next step

Employability

Find out how to make the best start to your career through our Employability and Careers Service.

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