Monney maker.

An enterprising former Herbert Smith Freehills trainee is capitalising on his insider knowledge of training contracts by selling collections of successful applications to aspiring solicitors.

Yan-Kelvin Monney was a second year trainee at HSF, but he is also the director of Mindfull Learning, an online education business which he founded during the pandemic while paralegaling at Baker Botts in 2020.

The service offers six different guides to help individuals snag a training contract or vacation scheme from law firms, as well as providing tutors and e-learning resources across a range of other subjects.

Monney’s guide to Commercial Law Applications includes “successful cover letters and applications answers” which helped to win their authors places at 22 different firms including Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, Ashurst, CMS and Travers Smith.


Choose your fighter, Monney or ChatGPT.


ROF's redacted the names of a couple of lawyers this vac schemer has inadvertantly placed in Greta Thunberg's crosshairs.

PDF packs ranging in price from £29.99 to £69.99 draw on successful candidates’ materials to help customers ace the application centres, assessments, and interviews they will have to face if they want to forge a career in the biglaw hamster wheel of fun, money, B.O. and stress.

ROF did spot a few typos in the example pages, but Monney has A-list testimonials to back up his business.

An A&O Shearman trainee said that what differentiated Monney's guide from others "is that it precisely breaks down and explains a variety of real responses”.

One current Slaughter and May trainee said she was only invited to one assessment centre in her first cycle, but “being exposed to a wide range of successful applications, including firms and cover letters, inspired me to articulate my experiences more confidently and concisely and to tailor my research to the firms I applied to... all this has been key in me being invited to four assessment centres and receiving a Training Contract offer”.

And a Sidley trainee said, “I never understood what I should be asking interviewers at the end of the interview, but this guide provided excellent examples”.

A critic asked whether trainees “at top law firms like HSF" should "be allowed to sell successful training contract applications for jobs at those firms”.

However, another source countered that, for candidates unfamiliar with the process, an affordable Cliff’s Notes to demystify City law was just the thing to help to improve diversity and equality in the profession.

ROF applauds Monney's business nous*. Firms are always banging on about their lawyers demonstrating commercial awareness, and Monney’s actually living it. Presumably he decided there are more entrepreneurial ways of making a living than grinding out the hours, as he bowed out of HSF midway through his own training contract in March.

Herbies declined to comment, as did Monney who told ROF he didn't have much to say.

*And given the inhabitants of ROF Towers all are or were City lawyers, it would be pretty hypocritical if we didn’t.

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Distasteful 24 May 24 08:31

I was the president of a university society that helped students with their employability, and I do not like this business model at all. Charging students for these guides is another way to gatekeep the profession for those who can afford to pay for it. I know the cost is relatively cheap for most, butIt's the principle that is distasteful. Online forums such as commercial law academy are filled with great advice, andrUniversity societies, organizations such as Aspiring Solicitors, STRIVE, Rare, 93% Club, and more all do similar services without charging, and it seems like an unethical business model to charge students for this assistance.

Anonymous 24 May 24 08:46

Typos and errors aside, those answers are pish.

The tone betrays the supercilious satisfaction one often finds in the more un-astute and naive juniors, and the content does not show any attempt to personally engage with the question.

I get involved in our [v. large global firm] vac scheme assessments for my office and I would consider these to be unimpressive answers.

"I hope to experience something special at Clyde". Oh, for god's sake, **** off.

Anon 24 May 24 09:41

You would think he would get the name of the Clyde partner, who he both spoke to and had an email from, correct.

Yan Kelvin (Save your) Monney 24 May 24 09:41

If I paid £50 for the equivalent of toilet paper (based on those answers), I’d be claiming fraud. ChatGPT may have some issues but it could still knock up a much better application

Anonymous 24 May 24 09:48

I agree with 8:46am

Something deeply inauthentic about a grad referring to a partner as a “stalwart” who is helping his firm make big steps in (Environmental) law. 

Anon 24 May 24 09:50

Errors and typos are there, and it reads like a superficial and rather naive attempt at pretending to know a lot more than the writer actually knows.   Name dropping and cribbing bits and pieces from the website.  

Is really the standard people will pay for?  

Amomo 24 May 24 09:54

When I did the LPC they gave us all this stuff, including past successful applications, for free. As someone else says, just use Chat GPT, it's what all the other kids will be doing.

Anonymous 24 May 24 10:02

A couple of thoughts.

1.  It's almost 20 years since I had to fill out dozens of these applications. The questions were a bit silly then and it appears that not much has changed. What serious insight is a 21 year old expected to have regarding challenges facing a city law firm? In my view, these questions are actually a bar to meritocracy: they favour those with relatives in the professions who can supply them with impressive-sounding answers.  If you lack those connections, then these kind of questions are a real challenge and I think a student can be forgiven for slipping into that "un-astute and naive" tone referred to by 8:46 above. Somewhere on an old hard drive I still have all my applications and I dread to look back at what nonsense I came up with.

2. The answers clearly need some work, but I can't dunk on someone for coming up with a business idea and making a go of it. I wish him luck.

Beggar’s Belief 24 May 24 11:00

Those applications are nonsense!

Knowing how difficult it was to get past grad rec at this application stage, having put in a serious and professional effort into my applications, it does make me seriously question their judgement as gatekeepers to the VS/TCs. Particularly given the calibre of people I knew who were applying at the time without success.  


If as a trainee you were co-founder / CEO of a success blog at uni, are a law Tik Tok influencer, works harder for GradRec than the actually work a trainee is meant to do, 90% of the time you will be the worst trainee in the team. Despite whatever disingenuous image the ‘life of a trainee’ you,  or the grad rec team that swoons for this silliness, peddle. 

El Capitan de Amonymouso 24 May 24 11:16

""I hope to experience something special at Clyde". Oh, for god's sake, **** off."


This x infinity.

Anon 24 May 24 11:17

Wonder if he has any notes on how an able-bodied, white, middle class, straight, male can get a training contract these days?

CityRecruiter 24 May 24 11:40

Most of the diversity/access organisations like Aspiring Solicitors etc are not charities or non-profits by the way.  It's just that they charge the law firms rather than the candidates to participate in their schemes.  Which would be perfectly fine, if they didn't "sweeten the pill" to attract firms by widening the definition of non-traditional candidates so much that literally anybody falls within it, thereby rendering much of the work meaningless.

Anonymous 24 May 24 12:27

Let's hope he files the accounts of his property company soon ( otherwise he might be losing the properties he boasts about on LinkedIn...

Lydia 24 May 24 12:33

The spelling and grammar are not great so how do we know if the person got in for a different reason? Or may be it proves your diversity these days if you make the kinds of mistakes in the Clyde example?


I think the firms themselves should issue examples slightly altered of those that got people in.

Juu 24 May 24 12:33

What’s wrong with what he’s doing?

He’s enterprising and smart and monetising well.

The sad reality is that most lawyers don’t have the commercial thinking he does. 


Anon 24 May 24 19:00

He wants to experience something special at a mid sized insurance firm paying modest city salaries and pretty poor NQ salaries at that.   

I'm not sure he has the same understanding of "special" as I do.   But each to their own.  

SecularJurist 24 May 24 19:42

Now reach for the sick bag. One would pule more than one could eat.

The name-dropping and grovelling are risible.

Those poor little wide-eyed innocents. I bet their mum and dad bought this as a present and the only reason why they are trying to become a lawyer is due to family pressure.

LMAO 24 May 24 20:46

Anon 24 May 24 11:17 If you can’t get a TC with those traits it’s probably because you are utter trash and not worth training whatsoever. Get over it. You complete failure :D

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