The training contract application is a chance to show law firms who you are; an opportunity to impress the firm, persuade them as to why you are the most suitable applicant and present your experience and reasons as to why you want to train at that particular firm. The training contract is where you will spend around 2 years working, learning and getting to know the firm so it is important that you thoroughly research the firm you are applying to.

Law Training Contract Application Process

The process varies from firm to firm. Most application forms will include a personal details section, experience, and diversity questions. They are also likely to ask questions such as ‘Why are you applying to [this] firm’. Questions will be tailored to the firm as they are looking for more specific answers; it is vital that thorough research is conducted before attempting to answer these questions so that you are equipped to write a detailed and succinct response.

The process is usually as follows:

  1. Application form
  • Personal details section.
  • Education and experience.
  • Can include a cover letter and CV.
  1. Questions
  • The firm typically asks the applicant to answer questions on a variety of topics to show your research and interest in the sectors the firm specialises in.
  1. Psychometric tests
  • Many law firms use psychometric tests to screen out candidates.
  • Most tests will focus on inductive reasoning, verbal reasoning, situational judgement, and numerical reasoning.
  • You can find practice tests online which can be extremely useful; there is not a standard pass rate for most tests as you are judged against the applicants in the same intake.
  1. Interview
  • Not all firms will interview but the most common feature in the current application procedure is a video interview. This is whereby a question appears on screen and you pre-record answers which the law firm will view afterwards.
  • Eye contact with the laptop camera is very important. You should pretend that you are in a real-life interview, talking to a partner or someone from graduate recruitment.
  • Be yourself and be professional; remember to answer with the STAR method as the recording time is usually only 1-2 minutes.
  1. Assessment Centre
  • This is typically the final stage of the process. Each firm handles this differently but is usually a day or half-day at the offices or on zoom, comprising of several tasks to get-to-know the firm and show them what you can do.
  • It usually includes group tasks, a written task, negotiation or presentation and an interview with a partner and graduate recruitment.

Law Training Contract Application Form Questions

These questions are an opportunity to show the firm your in-depth research and knowledge about both the law and the practice area you’d like to work in. They vary from firm-to-firm and so should your research.

There are many types of questions:

  1. Personality-focused questions: This may be something like “give an example when you showed good leadership skills”.
  2. Law firm questions such as “why are you suited to work at this firm?”.
  3. Commercial awareness questions: this is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your wider acknowledgement of the current legal climate.
  4. Competency-based questions: this can range from the firm looking for answers around attention to detail, resilience, organisation or enthusiasm. The best approach is the common STAR method which ensures you answer the questions concisely.
  5. Situational questions: this may include a question such as “how would you work with an unmotivated team?”

Law CV/Resume

Some, but not all, firms will ask for an updated CV. It is good practice to always have an updated CV, ready to send to firms. It can be the first impression that the firm receives. You should include education, work experience and volunteering roles in chronological order. Your key skills should also be highlighted, with any skills or achievements

Law Cover Letter

The legal cover letter for all law firms is extremely important. It is an opportunity to explain your motivations for becoming a lawyer and for applying to the firm. It should be well-written, succinct, and persuasive. You should avoid repeating examples of answers you have given to other questions. Ideally, a broad picture of skills should be given to the firm.

You should include:

  • Quick introduction
  • Why are you interested in this firm?
  • Why you’re a good fit for the firm?
  • Conclusion
  • Any extenuating circumstances, or additional information you want to add.

Top tips

  • Be clear and concise: make sure you are relevant and everything you say is important!
  • Do not lie! – of course, this is immoral but if you do lie and make it to the interview stage, it can be very embarrassing if it is found not to be true.
  • Maintain professionalism
  • Make sure there are no gaps in your application – address any lower grades or experiences that included personal mitigating circumstances.
  • Triple check! – a law firm pet peeve is incorrect spelling so you can never be too careful!

By Emme Thomas