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Why your personality is just as important as your qualifications

17/10/2016
Posted by: Naomi Melling

Historically, professionals looking to move into the legal sector would have to possess highly impressive qualifications at A-Level and a commercial awareness at the very least if they wanted to make their mark on the profession. However, one firm is conducting its graduate recruitment slightly differently and feels that its trend could soon be more commonplace in the profession. Here’s what it means for aspiring lawyers.

Fishing from the same pool of talent

Founder, Adam Moralee created the intellectual property and sport firm Brandsmiths after an extensive career at Mishcon de Reya where he was partly involved in its hiring of graduates. However, he soon noticed that firms seemed to be after the same group of high performing people year after year. He found this problematic, “If everyone has three As and a First....and if they are all being brought into the same workplace then it can’t help but be dysfunctional,” he suggested.

He also outlined that the issue is particularly acute with legal firms who want to find “a diamond in the rough”, but at the same time don’t want to recruit paralegals as they think it could make them look like a second class firm. As Moralee outlined, this is made even more difficult as you need to be a “bit of a rough with 3 As and a First.”

Growing the legal talent pool

In order to diversify his practice, the founder has asked potential candidates for his trainee/paralegal position to create a two or three minute video explaining why they should be interviewed for the job. This means that candidates who may have slipped up on their exams for whatever reason but who may otherwise be a perfect cultural fit for the organisation aren’t overlooked as they historically may have been, which automatically shrinks firms’ talent pools even further and could prevent gifted professionals from working in the field. “There are these stupid, outdated barriers in place,” Moralee suggested. “Of course academic achievement is important – if two candidates are the same and one has As and one Cs I am going for the one with the As – but it is not the be all and end all. It is not even the most important thing.”


With more and more firms likely to adopt this type of approach as they look to diversify their talent pools, it falls into the laps of graduates and potential trainees to consider what makes them employable. Rather than firms solely looking for public school old boys with academic success on their CV, they’re likely to be seeking a combination of this along with commercial awareness and a personality, something which may have been slightly overlooked by many practices in the past. Graduates should therefore consider what makes them stand out from the crowd and how their personality can potentially be the recipe for success. Rather than solely focusing on preparing for exams, they should now also consider their wider profile and what they can do to make themselves more employable. Otherwise, if this trend does continue to grow, we could see rising numbers of smart professionals, who have failed to consider the importance of personality, fall by the wayside.

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