Securing a training contract with magic circle firm Clifford Chance

Tamzin Bildstein, 1st-class Honours LLB graduate (2022)

What have you been doing since you left Kent?

Keeping busy travelling! I have been to Budapest, Rome, and Tenerife. I also continued with a part time job until December 2022 and my small baking business remains active.

Tell us about the training contract you have secured:

It’s with Clifford Chance, a magic circle law firm, located in Canary Wharf London. Clifford Chance is known for being a corporate law firm, with a large focus being on financial institutions. The firm has a range of clients including some well-known names such as: O2 (Telefonica UK Limited),  Santander,  Morgan Stanley, EasyJet and many more. My training contract is due to commence in February 2024. I am in the process of studying the LPC at the University of Law. I am hoping to become a qualified corporate lawyer/solicitor.

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

We learnt a lot about training contracts through the KLS team. I went to many events, including those where law firms visited the University and others where the training contract cycle and application processes were described in more detail. I was very unaware of the nature of securing a training contract when I first entered University, so the events were really important to me.

Doing lots of online research, I found sites such as Legal Cheek particularly useful as they put out information about a lot of city firms. Legal Cheek run events about themes trending within the legal industry and events where you could meet the firms. These enabled me to get a more detailed picture of the industry I was looking to enter and to talk with the firms and learn where my interests lay. There were also events run by the firms themselves that I attended. I went to many of Clifford Chance’s own online events, and this really helped me to build a picture of the firm and find out if it was the right fit for me.

Can you explain how your time at KLS contributed to your recent successes?

It was not only the curricular activities that helped me to gain my training contract but also the extracurricular activities.

KLS being a critical law school helped my outlook in my studies and pushed me with my work, which led to my achievement of a first-class degree. This helped to make me stand out when applying for Training Contracts.

It is difficult to gain legal work experience in law, so having the Kent Law Clinic, where I volunteered as part of my degree, was also important for my success as I got to see the kind of work that lawyers undertake and this helped me have a better understanding of what I would potentially be doing as a Trainee.

The many events KLS hosted were a huge help for informing me and helping me to network with firms. Another huge thanks need to be given to KLS for all the help they provided in my application process. I utilised the Careers team for checking my application and also for a mock interview. All of which really helped me to recognise what I could do to provide the best application.

All the teaching staff played a vital role in my success. They enthused me in my studies, taking the time to have one on ones to develop my understanding and believed in me throughout my degree and the application cycles I entered.

Do you have any advice?

The advice I would give to someone considering studying law is:

  • Research into what exactly the law degree entails – network with those at University or who have secured a degree.
  • Know that simply gaining a law degree does not make you a qualified solicitor or barrister but it does give you the skills to undertake many other jobs or go on to complete further education and training contracts or pupillages.

For those considering the LPC/SQE routes:

  • Network – ask people about their experiences with these two routes. However, some firms if a TC is already secured will choose the option for you.
  • As always do your research!

My advice for those applying for training contracts:

  • Attend any and every event you can that helps you to learn more about the legal industry and the firms you want to apply for.
  • Utilise the resources around you – for those at KLS you have an amazing careers team. Book an appointment to go through your application or do a mock interview.
  • Don’t leave your research or writing of the application to last minute. The whole process of doing an application is over months. Events fall over several weeks in the recruitment period. The graduate recruitment teams will be able to tell whether you are genuine in what you say and have taken the time to show your interest in their firm.
  • Network – find people in the industry and reach out. Be Brave!
  • Find out what makes you stand out. Legal work experience is not the most important thing, non-legal work experience is just as important! Your studies are really crucial, but you need more than this to stand out.
  • Look at organisations and charities like Aspiring Solicitors and Grow Mentoring. They have mentorship programmes and events that could benefit you.
      • MOST IMPORTANTLY – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Put in the thought and time and you will get there, even if not today or tomorrow you can do it. It took me three years, but it is all worth it.