🎙️ Application tips from an associate at Mishcon de Reya (and Instagram Queen)
EDITOR’S RAMBLE 🗣
Yup — it’s our second LittleLaw post this week.
That’s because a lot of you told me you want to hear more about how to get into law.
So, I’ve sat down to speak to people who’ve gone through the process already so you can learn directly from them.
Today, I’m excited to introduce my friend Megan Hulme!
Meg’s an associate at Mishcon de Reya, working in the Insolvency Litigation team.
She helps others break into law with application guidance on her Instagram page, @itsallhearsay – if you’re applying for law firm roles, you'll want to check this out.
But it's not just strictly business over there… Meg is also the Law Reel Queen.
This one is my favourite 👇
Meg also provides free resources on her blog, with her most popular being her Ultimate Interview Guide.
Enjoy the interview 😃
P.S. Let me know if you want more of this type of content!
IN CONVERSATION WITH MEGAN HULME 🎙️
So, ketchup - does it go in the fridge or cupboard?
FRIDGE - I like cold ketchup but I wouldn’t be offended if someone put it in the cupboard.
Good, now that’s sorted — what’s your best piece of application advice?
If you can remove the name of the firm and it can be replaced with another name then you have not tailored your application enough.
What’s the most common mistake people make in their law applications?
A common mistake is when an applicant doesn’t link their skills back to how that skill will assist them as a trainee solicitor.
It’s very easy to say that you have good communication or organisational skills but not linking them back to the tasks you will carry out as a trainee or how they will assist you to be a good trainee will not help you to stand out from the other applicants.
How do you fix that?
When referencing a work experience, make sure to briefly explain why the requisite skills will help you to thrive in a legal setting.
For example, being able to manage deadlines and competing tasks while working in retail will help you to navigate differing requests from a variety of fee earners or, being adaptable when working in a team as a waitress will assist you with a smooth transition when changing seats etc.
How can you impress in a vacation scheme?
Make an effort to do a floor walk or introduce yourself to those in your team on your first day.
If you had to guess, how many applications did you make before you got your training contract?
I applied to around 40-50 firms. I took a scattergun approach to applying and this negatively impacted the quality of my applications. A big no no!
I always recommend applying to between 5-12 firms. You can’t possibly understand the firm's values, work, clients and business if you apply to any more than that.
To understand how best to apply and make the most of a training contract cycle, check out my seven-part applications series on my Instagram 👇️
What’s the best resource for keeping up to date on news?
Google Alerts - set up your key search terms for daily updates. It’s the best way to stay on top of your chosen firm and hot topics and trends.
What’s the oddest thing you did as a trainee?
I guess the oddest experience I had as a trainee was going to a virtual social where a farmer fed his goats on a livestream. The creativity of the organiser was unparalleled.
How can someone bounce back after getting a rejection?
Understand that it is not personal (even though it feels like it)!
There could be many reasons behind why your application was not successful and which are not within your control such as: they had filled the spots during a vacation scheme or the successful candidate was in their third year of applying and has a year of paralegal experience…
Do something fun with your friends, shake it off and go again. When your time comes, you won’t remember all the rejections.
What’s one thing about Mishcon that’s surprised you?
Mishcon is often known for its hard-facing external image but in reality that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The people at Mishcon are warm, friendly and supportive. They are extremely impressive lawyers and it's so uplifting to be surrounded by clever people that you would happily socialise with in your free time.
Did you buy something for yourself with your first law pay cheque?
Yes, an Apple watch. I was so excited to upgrade my workouts and find a smart watch band to go with my work outfits (I went for a silver Casio-style band and it is always commented on how little it looks like an Apple Watch).
I’m guessing insolvency litigation was your favourite seat during your TC, right?
I didn’t actually do an Insolvency Litigation seat - it was a gamble qualifying into an area I had no experience in. I knew I liked Litigation (from being a Paralegal) and I really enjoyed my Corporate seat so thought Insolvency Litigation would be a good middle ground. I am so glad I took the risk because I am enjoying every minute of it.
I work on complicated, multi-million pound and multi-jurisdictional matters that are often in the press. All of my matters are very juicy!
I would certainly recommend doing an Insolvency seat, if available on training contracts. The experience you gain is so wide reaching and no one day is the same. It’s also super technical so you’re constantly learning, which is something that I really wanted for qualification too.
If you could change one thing about the world of commercial law, what would it be?
The criteria that you have to be confident to be a good lawyer or candidate. While this characteristic might be natural for many lawyers, many candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds are not naturally confident.
It’s important to recognise that confidence is a skill that can be developed and to address this disparity, it’s crucial to provide support and resources to candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds such as mentoring programs, scholarships and other opportunities that those from other backgrounds have.
If you were given a billboard in Piccadilly Circus, what would you put on it?
My mum and dad’s cheese business.
They are a small family-run business and Covid really knocked them sideways so I would hope that the billboard would give them the fantastic publicity they deserve and to get them back up to the sales they had pre-Covid.
Shout out to Rennet & Rind for all things cheese!
STUFF THAT MIGHT HELP YOU 👌
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📹️ Free application help: If you're applying to commercial law firms, check out my YouTube channel for actionable tips and an insight in to the lifestyle of a commercial lawyer in London.
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