Should I get paid overtime this Easter? March 25, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Right side of the Law , 1 comment so far
Working the Easter bank holiday can be lucrative for cash-strapped students. It’s a period many other workers prefer not to work, so casual or part-time staff are often encouraged to provide cover. For some people this is an unhappy burden, for others it is just like working any other day. The one issue that comes up time and time again though is whether workers are entitled to any additional pay as a result of working on such holidays.
There are many misconceptions about the rights of workers on public holidays. The reality is that there are generally no legal entitlements with much resting on the terms and conditions of employment, often set out in a staff handbook. According to trade union USDAW, there is no legal right to take paid time off on a Public Holiday or to receive premium payments for working on such a holiday.
In practice though many employers will pay a premium (e.g. double pay) or provide additional time off in lieu, pro rata depending on the hours you work. These should be set out in the staff handbook or, if they have done so continuously in previous years, it may be customary.
Bank and public holidays are typically added to your annual leave entitlement (e.g. full time worker will get 20 days plus 8 public holidays) but, again, this is not a legal requirement and such days can legitimately be included in your annual leave.
You can get more answers to common holiday season working questions on the TUC website.
Peeping inside the City February 11, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Finance & IT, Selection Process , add a comment
For a unique, insider’s perspective on a career in the financial services sector, come on our long-running and successful City Course. During the week you will visit prominent City employers and institutions. You will participate in employer-led business games and listen to presentations and graduate panels about the range of City careers.
At each employer visit you will get the opportunity to meet and network with recent graduates working within the firm, representatives from the graduate recruitment teams and sometimes more senior employees. You’ll start early, work hard, and come away with a detailed understanding of how the City works.
The programme covers investment banking, management consultancy, accountancy, commercial law, risk management, and more.
Organisations last year included:
- Financial Services Authority
- Slaughter and May
- Standard Chartered
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
- Bank of England
- Barclays Capital
Please note: Applications are due in before the summer vacation even though the event is in September. Due to the high volume of applications received for this course, we are unable to acknowledge receipt.
An example of a typical day:
Morning: Visit the Financial Services Authority in Canary Wharf where you will get the chance to take part in a business game, listen to a panel of graduates talk about their experiences working in the City and network with current FSA employees over lunch.
Afternoon: Visit Accenture’s offices near the Old Bailey. Listen to a presentation by Accenture employees about what is involved in Management Consultancy followed by a business simulation game in smaller groups.
Comments from previous students on the course… “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I made a lot of friends, developed my skills and got a great insight into a wide variety of careers.” “The course has helped cement decisions on the areas I may want to go in to.” “Extremely informative. It’s opened my eyes to different companies and industries I haven’t considered before.”
Join us on Facebook where you’ll receive updates, take part in discussions, and ask us your questions. Share the event with your friends and anyone who you think will be interested in applying to this course: www.facebook.com/CareersintheCity
Internships: How to protect your rights January 28, 2013Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Right side of the Law , add a comment
Guest blogger Nick Branch explores the issues:
In this challenging economic climate graduates are fighting it out for a limited number of jobs against ever more qualified rivals. Internships therefore stand out as a great way to boost a CV, adding much needed experience to academic qualifications.
Indeed, the modern popularity of internships was recently highlighted by a YouGov poll for the National Union of Students that showed that one in five young adults aged 18 to 24 had completed an internship, compared to just 2-3% of those aged over 40.
And yet internships are making the news at the moment for all the wrong reasons. This week MP Hazel Blears launched a Private Member’s Bill in parliament to ban the advertising of long-term unpaid internships.
Many unpaid internships have previously been ruled unlawful by the courts because they contravene National Minimum Wage legislation. The new bill introduced by the Labour MP seeks to end the practice of advertising such posts, effectively outlawing them entirely.
Unpaid internships are seen to exploit budding young workers, who in many cases feel they have no choice but to work for free in order to boost their job prospects. They have also been criticised because they favour those from wealthier backgrounds who can afford to work for free for long periods, supported by their families or savings.
Unpaid internships are particularly prevalent in the ‘in demand’ industries including the media, finance, fashion, and ironically, politics.
At present though, there is no law against unpaid internships per se. Instead courts have tended to find that certain unpaid internship posts are in violation of National Minimum Wage law, because the interns are being asked to carry out a role that equates them to ‘workers’. In these circumstances the courts have tended to award compensation equivalent to the amount the intern should have been paid.
Factors that are relevant in the determination of whether an internship post should be paid include the hours the intern is required to attend the place of work, the supervision they receive, the type of tasks they are being asked to complete and the value of those tasks to the business.
For an internship to be genuinely unpaid a court would expect the intern to be free to come and go as they please, to receive training and learning opportunities from staff, and to be performing tasks that do replace those ordinarily completed by paid employees.
There are some categories of internship that are legally unpaid, including volunteering for a charitable organisation, and completing one years work experience as part of a four year sandwich degree. Even then, many of these types of posts may well offer to pay expenses to ensure the intern is not completely out of pocket.
If you are considering an unpaid internship, then you should carefully consider whether you can afford to take the role on, and should seriously appraise whether it will add significant value to your CV. A few days work experience is one thing, but committing to working for months for nothing is a serious undertaking – is it really going to boost your CV?
If you are already in an unpaid internship, and you believe it is illegal, then consider taking independent legal advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau, or from an employment lawyer. It may be that simply notifying your employer of the situation may prompt them to consider the minimum hourly wage. If they refuse then you will have the option to leave, and you could speak to a lawyer about claiming earnings back through the courts, if the company refuses to remunerate you for your time.
Nick Branch received his LLB in 2004 from the University of the West of England, he then became a director of 2 businesses. Nick’s areas of expertise involve employment, commercial and property law. To find more work from Nick or learn more about employment law and the different services employment lawyers could provide you, please visit Contact Law.
Internships? What’s the buzz? November 8, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Uncategorized , add a comment
If you have had a Reading Week your parents may have had the opportunity to drop the word “internship” into a conversation. There can be a lot of pressure to get an internship but there is little doubt it can be a great experience.
So what’s the secret to finding a good job after university? Work experience – and lots of it. From an employer’s perspective, work experience develops those all-important team-working and communication skills and turns naïve students into well-rounded prospective employees.
Around the beginning of your second year you’ll start to hear other students talking about finding internships for the following summer. If you haven’t already started thinking about your future career, this conversation might make you feel that you’re missing out and that this is a bandwagon on to which you should certainly be jumping.
Internships are work placement schemes offered by large organisations and companies primarily to penultimate year students. Typically they run during the summer vacation for between four and twelve weeks. Most commonly found in sectors such as IT and finance, they are usually well-structured and provide a diverse range of experiences.
In summer 2009 I attended a summer internship in Risk Management with Macquarie Bank. As getting internships in the financial sector is highly competitive I started applying in August last year. I discussed my applications with careers advisers and used the careers library to research specific companies. I also attended an assessment centre workshop which made me feel more confident about attending the real thing! The recruitment process is long but the careers service was able to help me from start to finish which I feel improved my chances of success significantly”
Carola Wiksten, Psychology undergraduate
Impress the boss
Companies use internships as a way of recruiting graduates for permanent positions when they leave university. In other words, if you succeed in impressing the boss during the summer, there’s a good chance you’ll be encouraged to apply for a full-time position the following year, and your application will probably be fast-tracked. At the same time, you’ll get a feel for what the job really involves which will help you decide whether or not this is a field you’d like to work in permanently.
Watch those deadlines
Internships are advertised to students from October to February of your penultimate year. If you’re interested in careers in finance, consulting or IT, it’s important to meet application deadlines, so drop into the careers service early in the autumn term and pick up free copies of our employer directories.
Beat the competition
A word of warning: internships are extremely competitive, and the application process can be long and gruelling, involving application forms and several rounds of interviews. If you decide to pursue this path, start early, attend application-writing workshops in the careers service and get a careers adviser to check your application before you send it off: it can make all the difference!
A world of work experience
So far, so good. But what if you don’t really know what you want to do, you’re not successful in your internship application – or you just don’t fancy working for a big faceless organisation? Internships get a great deal of publicity on campus largely because employers are very good at advertising them, but there are lots of other ways to find work experience.
Registering with a recruitment agency to find temporary summer assignments (or “temping”) can be an invaluable way of building skills and finding out what kind of work you prefer. Assignments tend to be flexible in terms of timing and location, so you could be working for an accountancy firm one day and an advertising agency the next.
The opportunities to experiment with different types of work and expand your network are endless, and you’ll also have the advantage of being able to take off travelling whenever you want.
Formal internship schemes are advertised on employer websites. Your careers service should have graduate careers directories to take away (e.g. Times 100) and most of the companies in them will provide work experience and internship schemes. JobOnline is also a great source for a wide variety of internship and placement opportunities. If you have a particular career path in mind, it might be worth speaking to your careers service about more specialist sources – have a look on careerstagged.co.uk first.
A word of warning
The law requires, with few exceptions, employers to pay at least the minimum wage. Non-profit organisations and any work experience undertaken as a requirement of your course (i.e. sanctioned by an academic body) are exempt. In reality it is generally only the big internship schemes that provide pay. Certain sectors are notorious for no paying the minimum wage (or in some cases not even covering expenses) – marketing, advertising, PR, policy, the arts, political. I have seen some increase in the numbers of vacancies paying the minimum wage but the majority don’t. It is not unusual to see multinational marketing corporations still not paying the legal minimum wage. The Careers Group requires all employers advertising vacancies with us, both on campus and online, to comply with the national minimum wage legisation.
Blawgs – get an inside perspective on law December 15, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : Law , 6comments
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
I follow a number of blawgs purely out of general interest, but I thought I would share this selected* list of UK lawyer-authored blogs here too because I think they provide a great insight into the world of lawyers and their views on the latest hot topics (useful for interview preparation too…).
Charon QC – commentary and humour – http://charonqc.wordpress.com/
Head of Legal – to explain developments in law, and the law behind the news - http://www.headoflegal.com/
NearlyLegal – housing law news and comment – http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/
PSL Blog – commercial law from a professional support lawyer - http://www.pslblog.co.uk/
Barmaid - BVC and all that – http://bar-maid.blogspot.com/
Pupillage and how to get it – http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/
* These blogs have been selected on the basis of what I personally find entertaining, as much as quality and currency. As such this list is unashamedly biassed. If you want to find more on a particular area of law you find interesting, then find other blogs by: using this directory at infolaw; browsing the Insite Law pages on Netvibes; or see the extensive blog links on the Nearly Legal blog.
Advice on pursuing legal careers in the recession May 14, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : Law, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
It is undeniable that legal recruitment has been hit by the recession. Competition is higher than ever, but if you have a genuine interest in a legal career and the work experience to back that up, you should not be put off. Graduates are generally making more applications this year, and changing their career plans, but they won’t necessarily have the best quality application for a law firm. The situation is tougher but not impossible.
Here is some advice we have picked up to improve your chances at a training contract:
Firms are avoiding students who were intending to be investment bankers, but switched to law when they thought it looked a better bet since the recession. If you have a couple of banking internships on your CV, be prepared for questions about this. Make sure you have evidence of your interest in law, and a good reason (not purely financial!) for your change of heart.
Got a 2:2 or low UCAS points? Think carefully about your decision. It has always been difficult to secure a training contract with low grades, and now competition is so high you may have to spend a couple of years getting work experience, working as a paralegal, and persevering with applications. Many in your position have to self-fund their studies, and are still less likely to be employed after graduation. Are you strong enough to cope with the debt and the risk?
Consider regional offices or smaller firms. Many students dismiss these without even researching the firms, which means there can be less competition. The alternatives do have their merits. If you are really committed to law, make your training contract applications more diverse.
Law vs non-law graduate? This article from TimesOnline discusses whether firms prefer law or non-law graduates, and whether the recession has changed this. The outcome was that different firms have different preferences, and the recession hasn’t stopped firms from recruiting non-law graduates. When making applications, try to make sure you are targeting ones that favour your academic background.
Self-funding your studies. Be aware that more LPC students are leaving university without the offer of a training contract. The situation is worse for BVC graduates. You will accumulate a lot of debt without the guarantee of work. Especially bear in mind that law firms are currently deferring people they have accepted on training contracts. When you are to finish LPC, the law firms will be taking in these people, and probably recruiting fewer new applicants.
- Get work experience to make sure this is the right choice for you.
- Get your application checked at your careers service.
- Do a practice interview at your careers service.
- Think twice before self-funding further study.
- Research a range of firms and specialisms to target your application successfully.
Law , 2comments
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
Continuing the legal theme this week, I thought I’d discuss an interview tip given by Clifford Ennico in the book, “The Legal Job Interview”, which contains valuable advice on every stage of the interview process from initial body language to negotiating salary, and the perspective on legal culture makes it particularly useful over general interview books. However his top tip, his “key rule”, stood out to me as somewhat controversial and needing a little more examination.
SAY AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
He calls this the 20/80 rule. In any successful interview he reckons he will do 20 percent of the talking, and the interviewer does 80 percent. Why?
- the less you say, the less likely you are to say anything risky, anything that contradicts their beliefs. You should be like a politician, even if you all agree on everything but one point, that one negative is what will stick in their minds. They are probably interviewing a lot of candidates for each position, so they might only remember a couple of key things about each candidate.
- lawyers like to play things safe. They want to pick the safe candidate who is keen to do things their way. If you assert your own opinion too strongly you might signal to them that you are not a team player, that you are more interested in doing things your way.
- they want someone calm and collected who will reassure clients with clear, concise answers. You need to be the lawyer they are looking for.
Of course, the key to success with this approach is asking the right questions.
Rather than demonstrating the qualities they are looking for in your answers, instead you demonstrate them in your questions:
- show intelligence and insight in your questions. If one of their specialisms is in an area that is economically doing particularly well or badly, ask how that affects the future of that area – which specialisms are growth areas?
- demonstrate your qualities as a good listener who values the opinions of others.
- demonstrate the skill of active listening, skilfully asking further questions to get beneath the surface and extract more information.
- show them your enthusiasm and ambition – ask what they think is key to being successful in that position (you will also learn if the culture values working hard and long hours, or is more about politics – getting on well with the right people)
- flatter the interviewer by showing interest in what they do and being keen to learn from them and soak up their views.
It is an interesting approach – it sounds a little too evasive at first, until you realise the importance of the questions you are asking. While I wouldn’t worry trying to achieve the magical 20/80 ratio, the main point to take away is how important it is to ask good questions. Some of the qualities listed above are difficult to demonstrate in any other way, it is a key way of showing your interest in the firm, and they will at least expect one question from you at the end to round off the interview. It is worthwhile preparing a few, so even if they answer some prior to the interview you still have something to ask.
No matter how detailed the recruitment brochure and website has been, no matter how clearly the presentations have explained everything about the firm, it is essential ask them questions!
Choosing a legal career – 6 ways to get work experience March 17, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : Law , 2comments
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
If you are considering a career in law, it is essential that you get work experience. You will need this both for applications to firms and chambers, and for your own benefit to make sure you are making the right choice (before you shell out for all that extra training…).
Today’s tips relate to work experience you can get prior to applying for vacation schemes and mini-pupillages.
6 top tips for getting work experience
- Use contacts in friends and family to get a week of work-shadowing.
- If you don’t have contacts (and many of us don’t), try to get paid or un-paid work as an administrator or receptionist in a police station, court, high-street solicitors’ firm, barristers’ chambers, or legal body such as the Legal Services Commission. Even if you are photocopying and getting coffee, you will have the opportunity to observe how people work, how they spend their time, how they handle clients, what legal resources they use and ask pertinent questions. Try visiting in person with your CV.
- Visit the courts – useful for both aspiring barristers and solicitors. Follow a case and you can talk about it in interview.
- Join your university Law Society for access to talks and debates.
- Check with your careers service to find out when legal firms are coming to talk on campus and have networking events. You might not feel confident at first, but if you keep on networking it does get easier! These conversational skills will help you sound professional and knowledgable when approaching firms in future.
- Voluntary work is available in legal, civil rights and social justice areas. Search for it using Directgov – select voluntary work, and search in your area for Legal Aid & Justice (you are more likely to find long term opportunities than one-off events). Opportunities include prison befriender, witness support and Citizen’s Advice Bureau work. See also Vinspired.com for opportunities tailored to 18-25 year olds, and try your university volunteering service or society.
Remember competition is very strong for legal careers:
And some say the recession is heightening this as well-qualified students who would have gone into finance, choose law instead as a ‘safer’ route to high salaries.
What are you going to do to ensure you stand out?
For more information see:
Law careers for non-law undergraduates January 19, 2009Posted by TCG Info in : Law , add a comment
*****Be aware this content is over two years old*****
We have a new guide in called Launchpad to Law 2009: A career in law with your degree, by LawCareers.net in association with The Law Society.
It is written for students in non-law subject areas who are considering a career in law. The guide begins with an introduction to what lawyers do, timelines for applications and descriptions of courses. However the bulk of the guide is devoted to profiles of lawyers who graduated from a range of subjects, from archaeology to zoology. This will give you an idea of where you fit in, which skills from your course are useful in law and worth promoting in your application, as well as hopefully convincing you that non-law graduates are perfectly welcome in law.
I would also definitely recommend having a good look around the http://www.lawcareers.net/ website as it is full of useful information including:
- Vacation scheme deadlines for solicitors
- Diary of training contract deadlines for solicitors
- Pupillage search for barristers
- Immediate vacancies