Advice on training contract applications
The training contract application season is very much in full swing! This week, the trainee solicitor blog team spoke to three of our current first year trainees about training contracts at Cripps. Read on to find out the views of Raul Hernandez, Natasha Holme and Jo Jambaz.
Why did you choose Cripps?
Raul: Cripps is a law firm well known, both regionally and nationally, for the excellence of its service to clients. I chose Cripps Pemberton Greenish because of the calibre of its solicitors, who are highly rated in the legal directories. I wanted a training contract where I can learn from the best and I felt that Cripps would provide this.
Natasha: I applied after completing the vacation scheme. Everyone I met was willing to answer my questions and give me valuable feedback on my work. Although the firm has a healthy work/life balance, it retains the high quality of work and expertise of much larger firms.
Jo: Cripps has always had a fantastic reputation in the area and I knew about the firm before I went to University. After University I was working at another law firm, but when I saw a paralegal vacancy come up to work at Cripps I jumped at the chance to apply. I was already writing my training contract application for Cripps prior to joining, but actually working at the firm and meeting all the friendly people sealed the deal for me. I had my training contract secured 5 weeks into working at the firm as a paralegal.
How did you find the application process and how did this compare to other firms you applied to?
Raul: Cripps keeps the process simple but effective with one application form, two interviews and one practical test. I particularly enjoyed the interviews, that felt more like a two-way conversation than an assessment. At the final stage, I met with the Managing Partner, Gavin Tyler. I could not believe that he took the time from his busy schedule to interview the new recruits. This goes to show how important the training programme is to firm.
Natasha: It was far less daunting. There were no online tests or awkward group assessments. Cripps has its own application form and a two-stage interview process. The application form is mostly tailored to finding out about our personalities, whereas the interviews were where we evidenced our commercial awareness. The final interview with Gavin was more of a conversation than an interview. This is indicative of the friendly, non-hierarchical structure at the firm.
Jo: The application process is really straight forward, Cripps is trying to get to know you and whether you will fit in with the culture of the firm as a priority. Therefore, there are clear interview steps and a short written exercise, which is a refreshing relief in comparison to assessment centres and psychometric testing.
What is the range of seat choices like?
Raul: Cripps provides a wide range of seat choices. The property department is particularly impressive with its variety of sub-specialties. This wealth of choices makes the firm the perfect platform for a trainee to find the right speciality.
Natasha: We get a choice of 12 different seats, covering our three main divisions: Real Estate, Private Client and Corporate. To give us a better understanding of what each seat entails, we had talks from the divisional heads during our three-week induction.
Jo: The breadth of seat choices is surprisingly varied for a regional firm. It is a fantastic firm for trying to accommodate trainee interests and supporting them in their choices. Additionally, the work and client contact provided really do give an insight into the work that you would be doing should you qualify into that area.
If you could give applicants one tip on applying for a training contract at Cripps, what would it be?
Raul: Communicate clearly what differentiates you from the other applicants.
Natasha: Make sure that you are actually interested in our key practice areas. We have a number of different blogs about the firm’s work, recent legal developments and trainee life. If you read something on one of those blogs that interests you, feed that into your application.
Jo: Be yourself, express your personality and demonstrate that you are a person who will be committed to the firm.
If you are interested in a training contract with us, please click here for more information. Applications close on 31 July 2018.