How Many Applications Should You Submit?

Many candidates ask how many applications they should submit, but there is no definitive answer. However, we’ve asked Jake Schogger, Founder of Commercial Law Academy (an e-learning platform for aspiring commercial lawyers), for his take. Over to you Jake…

How many applications should you submit in a particular recruitment cycle?

I personally believe that the number of applications you submit should depend on two factors:

  1. How much time you are willing and able to commit to each application?

Sending out 3 or 4 thoroughly researched and well written applications is more likely to result in you being offered interviews than if you send out 100 poorly researched, badly written applications.

  1. How competitive it is to get the job for which you are applying?

For competitive internships or training programmes (e.g. programmes for which perhaps 1 in 20+ applicants tend to receive an offer), you really should hedge your bets. Consider sending out at least 10-12 high quality applications – if not more – and perhaps apply to a range of different types of firms, for example international, national, regional and boutique firms. You never know which type of firm happens to be looking for someone just like you.

On that note, be realistic. If a firm states that it only recruits candidates with top grades or extensive experience, consider whether you meet these criteria (or have relevant extenuating circumstances). If not, perhaps focus at least some of your efforts elsewhere, whilst trying to improve your grades and accumulate more experience. And even if you believe you tick all of the boxes, applying to only one or two firms is a risky strategy, as rejection can sometimes come down to bad luck (more on this below).

In addition, certain opportunities might only be available to students that are studying particular degrees or have reached specific stages in their degrees (and some might even be open only to graduates). Moreover, some employers recruit on a rolling basis – meaning that they assess candidates and make offers as and when they receive applications – which can lead to the real risk that spaces will fill up before their application deadlines. Ultimately, there is no point wasting time on an application only to discover that you are not eligible to apply or that all the places have been taken, so do your research!

To help you plan your time, we’ve created a (free) comprehensive database of law firm application deadlines, including:

  • Information about TCs, vac schemes and solicitor apprenticeships
  • Eligibility and grade requirements
  • Dates applications open/close
  • Whether apps are reviewed on a rolling basis
  • Application portal links
  • Additional relevant information
  • Links to helpful resources

Blog post author: Jake Schogger, Founder of Commercial Law Academy.

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