How to hire a graduate for a Legal role

Candidate profile:

A quick thinking, motivated and sharp individual with good commercial awareness who is a great communicator. They should be a quick learner, discreet and know how to remain calm under pressure. A candidate looking to pursue their law career at a smaller company will either have studied Law at university or done an internship at a top law firm but decided they don’t want to go down the traditional route and apply for a training contract.

Typically the candidate will have done a Humanities or Law degree with a strong result, minimum 2:1.

Top skills:

  1. Written & verbal communication
  2. Attention to detail
  3. Time management
  4. Research & analytical
  5. Problem solving

Non-office experience

  • Any experience which has required the candidate to hone their communication skills e.g. working with or learning a foreign language, writing for a university newspaper, volunteer work, being a member of a sports team or a debating society.
  • If the candidate balanced extra-curricular activities with a strong academic record at university this indicates that they have good time management skills.
  • Office experience

    • Any experience in the legal industry would certainly be beneficial.
    • Experience where the candidate has had to use their research or analytical skills is also a plus.
    • Any experience such as a customer service or sales support roles that has required the candidate to work to deadlines, and to manage and deal with clients in a professional capacity.

    Green flag

    • Someone who has taken the time to research your company and is aware of current current business developments in your industry.

    Red flag

    • Spelling and grammar mistakes in their application - this shows a lack of attention to detail.

    At interview

    • Ask them about a time that they had to build a rapport with a difficult person or a time they had to deal with a personality conflict with a colleague or classmate - this will give a good insight into their people skills.
    • You could set them a short task to carry out during the interview to see how well they do under time pressure - this could be something simple like proofreading a document or anything similar that relates to the kind of work they will be doing.
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