- If I don't meet the academic qualifications you specify, is there any point in applying?
It is unlikely that your application will proceed to interview stage, but we do look at every application we receive.
However, we would like you to let us know if you attended a secondary school that would be recognised as particularly disadvantaged – for example, one with an average A-level points score of below 240 points on the UCAS tariff.
- Do you run a Summer Placement programme?
- What are the prospects of being my being offered a post by the firm after qualification?
Very good. In the last two years we have retained every qualifying trainee on a permanent basis apart from one and that one has been offered a fixed term contract.
Over forty per cent of our current solicitors (excluding partners) trained here.
On average over the last few years more than 80 per cent of our trainees have stayed with us for at least a year after qualification. The longer term retention rate is about 65 per cent.
About a quarter of our partners trained here.
- Do you give preference to applicants with law degrees or those who have studied at particular universities?
No: we simply look for talented people with potential, wherever (and whatever) they have studied. We believe in diversity and feel it contributes to the firm's distinctive character. Russell-Cooke lawyers come from a wide range of academic backgrounds.
- What is your interview process?
Our interview process gives you the chance to get under our skin (and vice versa).
We invite selected applicants for two interviews:
A first 'getting the know you' interview with one or two senior people at the firm.
For those who are shortlisted, a second interview involving a group session and a chance to show how you would cope with actual casework. You'll also meet our current trainees, look round our offices and have the chance to put your questions to the partner in charge of trainees.
- Does your interview process include "personality" tests?
No. One of the reasons we do not use personality tests is that we are not seeking to recruit a single personality type. The varied work we do creates opportunities for a wide range of personalities and aptitudes.
- Who decides what seats I will occupy during my training contract?
The final decision is ours. But we put a lot of effort into discussing trainees' own preferences and aptitudes with them, in the light of what is available and commercially feasible at any particular point.
- If I am committed to qualifying in a particular area of work, will you consider me for a training contract?
Yes. In return, we ask you to keep a reasonably open mind about the seats you occupy. Whichever departments you work in, you can be sure of acquiring the generic legal skills that will serve you well throughout your career.
It's actually not a bad idea to move outside your "comfort zone" for a while. Many of our trainees find that their initial preferences change during their training contract, and some develop unexpected enthusiasms for types of work that would not have previously featured in their plans.
- What are the most difficult things about training at Russell-Cooke?
You will need (often quite rapidly) to acquire a range of skills and adapt to different working environments, even within a single department. You will have to learn how to tailor your advice to the fee budget of different clients, and develop the confidence to make and back your own judgements.
- Do you offer a grant for the LPC and/or GDL?
We offer a loan for LPC fees. Assuming that you complete your training contract, this is only repayable if we offer you a job on qualification which you turn down; or if having opted to stay with the firm, you do not remain with us for at least a year. There is no interest charge and we allow time to pay on the very rare occasions that a repayment is due.
We do not offer payment for living expenses or any support for the GDL.