Traineeships

At university, there are usually conversations and views about the best way in which to secure a traineeship – but these opinions are not always accurate. I studied the LLB and Diploma at Strathclyde University from 2013 to 2018 and during that time there were three common myths that existed. Let’s have a look at what they are and how my own experience with Brodies shows that there are more routes into a traineeship than you might think.

 

Myth No. 1: A summer placement is the only route to a traineeship

I recall Third Year being a busy time, involving studying and completing course work alongside juggling summer placement applications and interviews. The common belief at this stage was that, if you obtain a summer placement, you have already sorted your traineeship. Not successfully securing this vital experience was therefore the end of your opportunity for a law career with any firm that offer placements.

I was only 20 at the time and received several outright rejections and some interviews, but no offers of placement, which felt like a serious setback in my career. I struggled to cope with this and decided that my future in a large, full service commercial firm was over.

In reality, peers who engage in a summer placement are in the minority, as many firms do not offer them, or when they do, they have less summer placement spaces than they do trainee places.

 

Myth No. 2: You can only apply for traineeships two years in advance

Students who don’t obtain a summer placement can apply for traineeships with large firms during the summer before and for the duration of, their Honours year.

From my experience, Honours year was too busy with studying and dissertation writing to think about more applications and interviews. I took a step back from applying at this stage, and decided that I would apply for traineeships during the course of summer 2017, to start in 2019. I was happy to wait for one year if it meant that I could train in a full service commercial firm.

I attended Brodies 2019 Traineeship Assessment Centre whilst undertaking the Diploma, but was actually offered the opportunity to start in 2018 – this was an exciting milestone. The reality is that some firms take speculative applications and will have spaces.

 

Myth No. 3: There is no point in starting your Diploma if you do not have a traineeship

Many students are afraid to start their Diploma without having secured a traineeship, due to its two year expiration. I was apprehensive for this exact reason, but was encouraged by family to start straight away.

Only 30% of students will have already obtained a traineeship on day 1 of their Diploma; you are in the majority if you start without one.

There’s also a benefit to be gained in the fact that the Diploma is much more practical, meaning you may now have a better understanding of what motivates you – for example you might initially think commercial law is your preference, but then discover that you excel in civil litigation.

 

It’s clear that there are various different routes to securing a traineeship in a firm like Brodies – rejection is not the end of your career and you should be resilient to knockbacks.

The closing date for traineeship applications is midday on Monday 5 August. For more information and to apply for a traineeship, please visit the traineeship section of our website.

Lauren Steele

Trainee at Brodies LLP
Lauren is a second year trainee solicitor in Brodies' Insurance and Risk Litigation team and is based in Glasgow.
Lauren Steele