Let's talk about rejection

Leanne Gibson, a newly qualified solicitor at Ramsdens Solicitors LLP, talks about the impact of rejection on aspiring junior lawyers.

Young woman sat at desk in front of a laptop looked rejected and stressed with her head in her hands.

'Rejection’ – the word often associated with not receiving the elusive training contact offer. The feeling of rejection does not bode well for the A-typical perfectionist personality type of a lawyer or lawyer-to-be.

It is difficult to see the positives when you are disappointed from another round of unsuccessful applications. My experience has taught me that there are positives in the negative: the ‘rejections’ make you resilient and with resilience comes more determination to show those firms why you would make a valuable asset to their team.

The art of learning to accept that you are on your own journey is difficult, particularly when those around you are progressing into training contracts. It does not mean that they are ‘better’ than you but it means that they are the right fit for that firm at that time. Of course, they have worked hard to get the offer but do not underestimate the power of being in the right place at the right time!

I had been a graduate for two years before I received my training contract offer.

Rejections can begin to have a negative impact on you and make you question your abilities and your career choice. My rejection experience made me more resilient and determined, however this did not happen overnight and my mental health was impacted significantly during the process.   

5 top tips 

As an aspiring junior lawyer, you must remind yourself of the end goal but must also remember not to neglect the things that make you happy and ensure that you are always prioritising your mental health. My top five tips are:

  1. Reflect – If imposter syndrome is telling you that you are not good enough, reflect on how far you have already come. Remember, you made it through a difficult degree to get to this stage!
  2. Pressure – make sure that you are not putting too much pressure on yourself. You can still impress employers without working yourself into the ground. You will not be the best version of yourself if you are mentally exhausted!
  3. Opportunity – if an opportunity comes along whether it be writing, presenting, volunteering or mentoring (but to name a few), jump at the chance. Nothing good comes from constantly staying in your comfort zone.
  4. Be yourself – the most important one of all. Your superpower is being you! It is a well-known fact that if everyone in a law firm had the same personality, the practice would not run effectively.  
  5. Do nothing – Make time to do nothing. You may feel as though you should always be pushing yourself to do more but do not underestimate the power of recharging your batteries. Take time to switch off for a day - watch a good film, eat your favourite food, and enjoy the time to yourself.

More about Leanne Gibson

Leanne is a solicitor at Ramsdens Solicitors specialising in Court of Protection (Property and Finance) matters.

Visit Leanne's LinkedIn profile here 

Leanne Gibson Rejection

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