Apr 05, 2022

Written By Helena Kudiabor

Do law firms look at your GCSEs?

Apr 05, 2022

Written By Helena Kudiabor

If you’re interested in applying for a training contract at a law firm, it’s important to know that law firms take a variety of different characteristics into account when assessing your application.   

Do law firms look at your GCSEs?

There are just under 10,000 law firms across the UK, meaning that academic requirements can vary widely from firm to firm. However, the general requirements for most law firms are a minimum of a 2:1 at university, as well as mostly As at GCSE and A-level. Thus, most firms look at all your qualifications, including GCSEs.

 

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Will I be automatically rejected if I have low grades?

Some large, prestigious law firms automatically reject those with applications which do not meet their minimum criteria. This is because they often receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for just a few places, so need a way to shortlist applications. 

However, this doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically rejected, as firms often place more weight on your A-level grades. Thus, if your GCSE results aren’t so great, but your A-levels are better, you may be looked upon more favourably by the admissions team.

 

Can mitigating factors be taken into account?

If circumstances outside of your control negatively impacted your GCSE results (or any of your qualifications), you should mention this on the application form. Be sure to include as much detail as you think is relevant. The law firm may contact you afterwards to find out more, or to ask for evidence.

It’s important to remember to only include genuine mitigating circumstances, so avoid including situations that weren’t out of your control. For instance, if you didn’t do well on your GCSEs due to poor time management, this wouldn’t be a good example of mitigating circumstances, and could in fact damage the credibility of your application.

 

I failed my GCSEs – can I still secure a training contract?

Yes: law firms also take into account any work experience you have, any extracurricular activities, as well as the rest of your application. So, if your exam results aren’t great, but you have a strong CV, law firms may look more favourably on you. 

To bolster your CV, try and find some legal work experience, or take a leadership role in your extracurricular activities. 

 

While many law firms look at your GCSEs, your dreams of becoming a lawyer are not lost if you didn’t do so well in them. Academics are not the be all and end all of a training contract application.

 

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