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.
Law practice areas and sectors
Look at the legal 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.
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 law firms and chambers you are interested in is a high priority.
There are hundreds of potential legal 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 solicitor – The Law Society has information about every practising solicitor and the firms they work in.
- Online Bar Directory – Juriosity 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 legal vacancies
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 organisations which are not currently advertising, that you have an interest in.
For the Bar, all first and second 6 pupillages must be advertised on the Pupillage Gateway, although they may also be advertised elsewhere.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out about a specific practice area?
I'm interested in a particular area of law. How do I find a list of firms in this area?
There is a lot of literature on the big City firms How do I find out about the smaller firms?
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.