Northern Law Student
Reading time: four minutes
Journeys into the law fascinate me. Solicitors and barristers each have their own unique paths into how they became intrigued by the law. I always find it interesting listening to everyone’s differing motivations and the career choices that have led them to where they are today. So, I wanted to introduce myself in this first blog post by explaining where I am in my own career journey.
At school, I was always motivated to do well. But I didn’t know that my passion lay in the law. It was an avenue that I hadn’t really thought about and didn’t know how to move into Law seemed untouchable, in more ways than one.
At GCSE I didn’t take the law course, and again at A-Level I chose other options. I studied Maths, English Literature and History, and realised that reading was something I particularly enjoyed. So, I went on to study English literature at university.
Find out more about careers in law as a non-law student here on LawCareers.Net.
My time at university was great fun and it really expanded my horizons. I’d never read poetry by T. S. Eliot or studied Victorian literature before. I was introduced to texts and concepts that made me realise how pigeon-holed I was in my choice of texts to read. Although I’ve not gone on to do anything that sits explicitly within the English literature field, I appreciate all the skills it has given me. I’ve learned how to argue a point with conviction, how to form an argument and to write logically using a clear structure that allows others to understand my thought process. I have, of course, also learned to read quickly and efficiently- a key skill when working in the law!
I reflect on my time at university as a time spent doing something that both challenged me intellectually and expanded my interests. I’ve never regretted not doing law as my undergraduate degree, because at the time, English literature was what intrigued me. In studying what really interests you, you inevitably perform best!
So, why law? In my second year at university, I completed some work experience at a local firm and was seated in their Private Client department. I attended client meetings, organised folders and conducted some research. The world of private client was interesting to me. I learned about the practical applications of the law, how it can be used to help clients and to fulfil their needs. I discovered that the law was about providing solutions to people’s answers, and as a woman with a logical mind, this was a win for me.
Following this experience, I decided to try and gain a training contract (TC). I applied for open days and vacation schemes, alongside TCs. I networked with firms in Newcastle, and I completed online courses that allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the law. When I finished my three years at university, I had one vacation scheme lined up. I completed the scheme, but unfortunately did not get offered a training contract.
Determination is key when applying for a TC. I knew this was a setback that many people experience in the competitive legal world, and that if I wanted to be successful, I’d have to take this in my stride. Rejection is hard, it really is. But don’t let it put you off!
Following my vacation scheme, I knew I needed to complete a conversion as the next step in my career. So, I moved back home with my parents and completed the MA Law (Conversion) at The University of Law in Manchester. To do this, I commuted for almost four hours for every workshop day- two hours there starting at six am and two hours back. It was tough, there is no denying it, but it was worth every sleepless minute.
Whilst completing my MA law, I was also applying for vacation schemes again. This time, I was offered three; I was absolutely delighted! My most recent summer was spent travelling to these schemes, and they took up a month of my time! I thoroughly enjoyed all of these and they were incredibly valuable in furthering my understanding of what area of the law I wanted to get into.
I sit here now having secured a training contract with a private client and real estate firm in London. My hard work has paid off and I’m so excited to start using my legal knowledge in practice. I have one year left of studying, while I complete my LPC. Then the legal world awaits me! Having gone through all of this myself, I have one takeaway for you. Don’t let rejection put you off. Instead, let it build your resilience and propel you closer to success.