Degree: Law, 2.1, Cardiff University
LPC: University of the West of England
Firm: Burges Salmon
Why did you decide upon a career in law?
It wasn’t something that I’d wanted to do from a young age, but during my A-levels I was trying to choose a degree that would lead to a professional qualification. I sought careers advice, talked about the things I enjoyed, and ended up going down the law path. I did some work experience, and set about the degree with an open mind. I found I really enjoyed it, so I decided to follow the career all the way.
What did the application process involve?
I came to Burges Salmon for an open day. It was a chance to look around and meet trainees. We also had to undertake a couple of exercises, including an ice-breaker and then a negotiation. I was then invited back to do a two-week vacation placement. At the end of the placement, I was offered a training contract that included the firm paying the LPC fees.
What type of work are you doing in your current seat?
I am in a litigation seat and I share a room with my supervisor, who gives me about half of my work. I also assist other members of the department. I could be asked to research new legal developments, or attend witness interviews before litigation. I am also going to attend a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice. There is no typical day as a trainee; part of being a trainee is helping out wherever you can, which makes the job interesting and varied.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I picked a legal career because it’s intellectually stimulating. I rarely come into work knowing exactly what the day will involve. I enjoy meeting people, which is why I like litigation – you get to meet witnesses, and have conferences with barristers. Plus the pay for solicitors is good. I wouldn’t want to work in London. I don’t think you get involved in the work as much there – in London firms you are a small cog in a big wheel.
What do you like least?
Lawyers produce so much paper, and as a trainee the dullest aspects are proofreading and bundling documents. But here, we have a team of paralegals who assist, so trainees don’t get stuck doing it all the time. We’re lucky to have that system. My impression is that at London firms trainees do far more photocopying and bundling.
What advice do you have for readers?
Get out and meet different firms. It’s a two-way process, to find out where you’ll be happy and for them to get to like you. Apply for open days and assessment centres, and try to do some vacation schemes. In interviews, be yourself and be enthusiastic. Having interests outside academia, such as being involved with a university law society, helps give your CV the edge.