Why are you asked to supply your academic transcript when applying for a job? Do academic transcripts matter, are they relevant these days?

 As a specialist legal recruiter, I am asked to provide my candidate’s academic transcripts to our clients.

Why do academic transcripts matter for legal jobs?

Law is a profession that requires a good consistent academic record. This is due to the nature of the role which is a high proportion of analysing complex documents and understanding and interpreting formal legislation. Having a strong academic record, to some extent, demonstrates your ability to do this effectively.

For graduates to intermediate solicitors, transcripts hold considerable value to a law firm, a good quality transcript will make or break if we can secure you an interview. Your academic transcript helps to give a strong indication of future performance. 

Top-Tier law firms will expect a first-class honours transcript. Mid-tier firms generally accept transcripts that are scattered with B+ grades and higher. One or two C+ grades won’t put off a future employer if you are the whole package.

There are other traits a law firm will look for in addition to a good transcript. At an intermediate/senior level your past work experience and the types of files you have worked on, the value of the matters, the calibre of clients and your career highlights and achievements are all decision-making factors.

In general, all law firms are looking for ambitious, intelligent, diverse team members. People who can effectively communicate and build rapport and relationships with their clients.

The poll results

We asked the question: Lawyers – Do you believe academic transcripts should be a focal point of your job application in the legal industry?

I had an overwhelming 26,396 views of this academic transcript poll. 691 people voted, and 24 people commented. The results were pretty convincing.

Where does that leave you if you don’t have the best transcript?

Life happens and events crop up when you are studying; illness, juggling part-time work (or even holding down two jobs!) family life and sports commitments.

If you have mostly C or C- grades then look for work in a small suburban law firm to build up some experience. This will help you down the track to be able to demonstrate your work experience and exposure to a variety of matters.

Working with a recruiter enables us to understand the reasons for low grades or a few one-off grades that aren’t so desirable. This allows us to put the grades into context for a future employer. We can help them see the bigger picture of what you can bring to the role.

There are also some firms that are exceptions to the rule. They put other traits and skills over and above transcripts. These firms tend to have Partners that have experienced barriers to employment. This may be due to their own grades or class other skills higher than transcripts. 

If you would like to chat about your next career move or get advice on the current legal market, please contact:

Sarah Innes | 03 666 0015 |  sinnes@tylerwren.co.nz