From Year Abroad in France to training with Linklaters

Timo Weyhe, final year European Legal Studies student

Tell us about the training contract you have secured:

I have accepted a training contract offer with Linklaters; and will be starting as a trainee solicitor at the firm’s London office in September 2025. Prior to that I have to complete the SQE, as preparation for that I will have to undertake the City Consortium Programme which the firm arranges for me, while also covering the fees and providing a grant for living expenses.

Can you tell us how you found out about the training contract and the application process?

I heard about the firm in October of my first year, when KLS Employability informed us about a virtual South-East Employer Presentation by Linklaters. Following this first impression and knowing I wanted to pursue a career in commercial law, I applied to their first-year scheme Pathfinder. Their unique online assessment which didn’t require me to answer any text questions was something excitingly different to most other applications; and after passing this first stage I successfully completed a phone interview.

Being on Pathfinder allowed me to get to know the firm better while also fast-tracking me to the assessment centre for a vacation scheme. Following the completion of two assessed tasks on the vacation scheme I had one final follow up interview for the Training Contract.

How have your studies at Kent prepared you for the application process

The emphasis placed by Kent on being a critical law school has really helped me, especially when it comes to the assessment centre or tasks on a vacation scheme, as critical thinking will be key. Being able to take different possible issues into account, while also thinking about the social responsibility and the impact decisions have, has been something that I learned to focus on while studying at Kent.

The employability support from the university and law society events can be incredibly helpful. The opportunity through KLS to do mock interviews with professionals has been a key driver for me in building my confidence for interviews.

The extra-curriculars at Kent is something that can stand out on applications and have equipped me with many skills. Taking part in Critical Law TV over two years allowed me to demonstrate student leadership and initiative in projects while doing something creative. I also remember how taking part in client interviewing, which I was very keen on doing due to the practical skills I could learn, was something that I spoke about during my first phone interview for Pathfinder.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for training contracts?

Start as early as you can. While it may seem daunting building your network from the first year of university, applying to open days or other schemes will make it in the long run much easier to answer questions like why a particular firm. Additionally, they provide you with experiences you can list in applications and for some firms even allow you to skip steps in future applications. All of this is part of getting your foot in the door, especially as firms value the existing relationships, they have built with people already on their programmes.

Be passionate! The passion for the career you are pursuing, or the particular firm you are applying to will be the driving motivators in your studies and any application you are doing. This can be incredibly motivating and will make a big difference, whether at the first stage of an application or an interview.

Play to your strengths. It is completely normal to feel at times overwhelmed when applying to firms, or unsure whether you are doing enough to be a good candidate. But any firm and its capabilities are defined by the uniqueness and different talents their people bring to the table. So, focus throughout the different application stages on the experiences that have shaped you and the skills that make you stand out, while connecting them to the firm and its work.

Don’t forget that it is a two-way process you should enjoy the application process, at least a bit, and get to know the firm gradually better. If everything goes well, you could be spending a large part of your career with the firm so that should be part of your considerations.