So I 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 poll, 691 people voted and 24 people commented. The results were pretty convincing and it was made apparent that the majority of people do not believe that their transcripts should be a focal point of the hiring process.
The comments varied with most people making it obvious they do not understand the focus on grades, especially as Lawyers move through their careers and the ranks.
It is understandable that a benchmark may be needed to separate graduates, but this should not be the only factor considered. Decision weighting could also be applied to Law Clerk experience, part time jobs, mooting and other competitions, social groups and other interests. There was an overwhelming response that law firms should not hold such a black and white, fixed mindset on the topic and there is an understanding that this will not easily change until the Partners with a more traditional academic outlook are replaced by more progressive minded Partners, some of which do not have the best grades themselves.
As the profession moves more towards a client-centric approach, surely EQ should matter just as much as IQ? Building an inclusive and diverse workplace should be about bringing the best people together, with best not necessarily equating to academic smarts but also actual problem-solving capabilities and the ability to relate to people from different walks of life.
The understanding is that in-house corporate legal employers place far less importance on academic transcripts than law firms, which I personally see in the market as well, however most Lawyers work in a top-tier law firm before going in-house so are they essentially still being filtered on their grades by making it into graduate programmes in those top tiers in the first place.
The legal market is going through a brain drain with two cohorts of Lawyers heading off on their O.E’s, which is creating a lot of pressure on hiring replacements. It will be interesting to see how this affects recruitment processes and whether employers change up their hiring practices as a result. As a recruiter, I know that I focus on an overall package of a candidate and understand what they can bring to the table.
If you are interested in discussing this further please do not hesitate to contact me, I am working on a number of roles (both with firms that do and do not have a key focus on grades) and I would love to help you into something new for early 2022 – firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 930 9828