The GULS Law Review

Getting you through the GU law degree!

header photo

Make Me a Lawyer!: Applying for Traineeships

Applying for Traineeships

written by the GULR team

Can you believe you are at this stage already? Seems like only yesterday you wandered into the Boyd Orr as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first year ready to become the next Elle Woods. The world after law school need not be so daunting though, so to help we have compiled this quick guide into applying for traineeships.

The 5 Step Process to Applying for Traineeships

 1. Decide Where

The first thing to ask yourself is what type of law you would like to practice when you leave University.  There are thousands of firms out there and this is the best way to decide which ones you should apply to. Check out websites like the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide who will give you the best guide as to what firms are the best at what you want to do. You can also find our partners here. Most firms are split into Commercial or Private Client (some do both, others are even more specialised) so it’s good to have an idea of what you would be best at to ensure the best applications. You also need to look into when these firms recruit and ensure you are at the right stage of the degree; many firms recruit 2 years in advance (when you are going into 4th year of the LLB), some take on 1 year in advance (when you are starting the diploma) and some recruit quite close to the start date (when you are almost finished the diploma) so make sure you don’t miss out on some of the early ones. 

2. Do Your Research

It isn’t possible to do too much research into the firm you apply to. Once you have decided which ones you would like to work for, read about them from every angle you can think of; their website, legal newspapers and blogs, major cases/clients they were involved with etc. It’s really important that if they have open days or other events running (you can see some of the Glasgow ones here) make sure to go - most of these events have employees of the firm in attendance and networking from the inside is a great way to get your application noticed. Most forms will inevitably bring the question of ‘why do you want to work for us?’ and this is where you really have to showcase how much you know about them and how your skills fit into what they need at the firm. You will also need this research should you get to interview stage, so it is good to have!

3. Showcase Yourself! 

This is a very west-of-Scotland problem but it needn’t be. We Glaswegians are awful with bigging ourselves up, but the chances are you’ve done loads to be proud of throughout the years! If you are filling in an application form, remember to have a copy of your CV beside you to ensure you get everything you need from it. This is one of the small number of times in life where you can discuss all of your achievements and tell people just how awesome you are - so make the most of it! Just make sure that it is all relevant to the job (as impressive as your beer bar yard-of-ale was, probably not appropriate for a job application!). 

4. Take Your Time

Give yourself plenty of time to fill in the application - don’t leave it until the deadline or your application is unlikely to be the best it could be. Ensure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes, and that you have the correct firm’s name and spelling each time you mention them (don’t laugh, we have heard horror stories about this!). Print it out and read it away from the computer, and even get a parent or friend to read over it for you. Put the time in and it will really show through

5. Waiting

Waiting on a response can feel like years on end, but you will probably find that by the time you are finished your first batch of applications the deadline for the second lot are approaching quickly. Don’t worry if it takes a while for firms to get back to you, they are going through loads of forms and this does take some time. If it is a ridiculously long period of time, feel free to e-mail the HR department who will look into it for you. As a side note to this, don't beat yourself up if you get a rejection - there are so many factors in the selection process that it is difficult to know exactly why other candidates were selected. Just pick yourself up and apply for a new lot of firms. The entire process is time consuming, but hopefully worth it. If you do happen to get some spare time, remember to study!

This year the GULS are going to run 'Make Me a Lawyer!' - an event in Freshers Week for non-freshers to come and talk to older students about these types of problems. We will provide free drinks and pizza and you can come along and ask any questions you need answered. Keep your eyes on our events page for more details. 


This Post is the first in a line of employability blogs we will be writing over the year. Keep your eyes peeled for tips for applying for summer placements, the job interview, psychometric tests, writing the best legal CV, getting work experience, preparing for exams and tackling the awkward interview questions!


Comment below with your experiences of applying for traineeships.

Go Back