Guidance on your Macfarlanes application

Macfarlanes' online form can be completed in multiple sittings. The home page allows applicants to view their progress or amend details on a previously submitted form. It’s a good idea not to use the navigation buttons on the web browser and keep an eye on the timeout at the top left of the form.

Tips on completing the form

The page on undergraduate education asks candidates to detail areas of the course they found particularly interesting. A response should ideally reference competencies expected of Macfarlanes lawyers, especially if the applicant studied or is studying a non-law subject. For example, a microbiology graduate may not have studied property law but could have developed the eye for detail necessary to be a successful solicitor.

There is a section about exam re-sits where candidates must explain why they feel the results listed don’t reflect their abilities. Law firms such as Macfarlanes pick and choose from a highly academic talent pool so it’s essential to have a watertight reason for any blips.

Experience is everything

Candidates are asked to list their work experience in chronological order. The most important part of this section is the ‘details’ box – this should cite examples of how responsibility has shaped the individual and the positive impact they’ve had on others.

A conundrum solved

This page requests additional information relevant to the application, including details of prizes, scholarships, positions of responsibility and noteworthy achievements, as well as reasons for applying to Macfarlanes. The candidate should try to avoid repeating information included in the cover letter, perhaps creating a long list of relevant detail and splitting it between the two areas.

The cover letter

At last, candidates reach the crux of the matter: the cover letter. This is the best opportunity they have to differentiate themselves from the other candidates applying for a training contract and must include compelling arguments as to why they want to be a lawyer, what qualifies them to be one, and why they want a law career at Macfarlanes.

Another way of getting an edge over the competition is to think of the reader. Candidates can influence the person at the other end by making their job easier through accuracy, avoiding jargon, and making sure to use correct spelling and grammar.

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