To all aspiring lawyers out there …
To all aspiring lawyers out there I would say go for it. A career in law is both challenging and rewarding, and if you know that it’s something you want to do, apply yourself, prepare for some hard work and enjoy the process. Hopefully my experience will offer you some insight into the process and answer a couple of the questions you might have.
A bit about me; I attended Beverley High School, Wyke Sixth Form College and then Hull University. At college I studied English Literature, Business Studies, Religious Studies and History. This raises my first point; I did not study law. A question I get asked a lot a careers fairs is ‘what subjects did you study at A Level?’. I personally believe there isn’t a specified list of subjects you must choose in order to have a successful legal career. Clearly I chose humanity-based subjects, which could be an indicator that a legal career may have suited me, but I am a big advocate for choosing subjects that you enjoy; surely you’re more likely to excel in subjects that you’re genuinely interested in.
I then went on to study LLB Law at Hull University. I thoroughly enjoyed this because it gave me the chance to choose the areas of law that interested me, and also taught me time-management and discipline, since I worked part-time throughout university. Obviously grades are extremely important, but I recommend getting involved in some extra-curricular activities; for example join a society which peaks your interest, or get involved with the student body. One piece of advice that really stuck with me was that when applying for a training contract, your grades are expected, this will get you through the door, but what is it about you that makes you stand out? So this brings me onto my next point; make sure you have work experience, both legal and non-legal. I worked part-time from the age of 16 and this stood me in good stead. During university breaks I completed multiple work-experience programmes. Surely you want to ‘try before you buy’. With a legal career you’re signing yourself up for years of study and training, it is therefore imperative that you know what you’re letting yourself in for. I did work experience in both the private and public sectors, and I would strongly recommend doing at least one Vacation Scheme. This is a two week programme which replicates a training contract, and it generally puts you in good stead for applying for the actual training contract because it shows you are genuinely interested in that particular firm. It is worth noting that law firms generally recruit their trainees two years in advance, so be prepared and get your applications in early.
I then completed my Legal Practice Course and Masters at The University of Law in Leeds; this was an intense year and the work load was high. I then started as a trainee at Rollits LLP in September 2019. The training is made up of four ‘seats’ with the idea being that trainees gain experience in different areas of the law, both contentious and non-contentious. I am thoroughly enjoying my time here at Rollits; it is a supportive learning environment I am grateful to learn from some excellent lawyers. So far I have spent time in corporate/commercial, Property and Private Capital and I am due to qualify as a solicitor later this year.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.