Somebody once told me ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do’. Although, when you google this phrase you will find it may have been borrowed from Dr Robert Schuller! It’s something I always keep at the forefront of my mind when there is an obstacle in front of me, especially when you are presented with a challenging situation.
Once I had finished my A Levels I was presented with a life changing decision to make for University – qualify into law or choose another discipline. At college I was presented with statistics which I felt put me at a slim chance of being given a training contract, and I didn’t think I could afford the thousands of pounds it was due to cost me for the LPC.
I therefore went against my gut feeling and qualified with a First Class degree in Criminology and Psychology. My aim with this degree was to pursue a career into protecting victims from organised crime, but upon qualification the jobs were just not available.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do, and when I was reviewing my University transcript, I noted all my top marks were in the law related subjects – funnily enough I also enjoyed those the most. I said to myself, I need some sort of sign in addition to my gut feeling to take up law as a career, and then the very next day I received a letter to attend jury service! I knew it was the right decision.
I need some sort of sign in addition to my gut feeling to take up law as a career, and then the very next day I received a letter to attend jury service!
I completed my Graduate Diploma in Law (part time) with a Commendation alongside working full time as a Conveyancer. I decided to work full time as I felt I needed fee earning experience with a national company alongside my GDL to set me aside from other candidates. I don’t regret doing my first degree because it contributes to my life experience and I have used what I have learnt in other situations.
Once I finished my GDL I immediately applied for my LPC – again part time. Just before this I applied for a job with Edward Hands and Lewis as a Conveyancing Paralegal. I knew EHL was a fast growing, innovative firm that I wanted to be a part of. I was so pleased when I received a call to say I got the job! I applied for the job with a view to getting a training contract. After one year and one month I received my offer letter for my ‘period of recognised training’ in October for a February 2015 start.
I took up a part time training contract alongside my LPC (which I am in my second year of) as it fits well alongside my lifestyle and I enjoy keeping busy! It also shows you can handle a lot of pressure at any given time which is something you will experience from time to time in the legal sector.
Life experiences always do come into play and I can certainly speak first hand of that.
Life experiences always do come into play and I can certainly speak first hand of that. My father suffered from schizophrenia which was of course difficult and sadly passed away with a heart attack when I was younger. Circumstances like this do not only present emotional issues but financial issues. Shortly before my stage one LPC exams my step father passed away from cancer – someone who I treated as if he was my biological father. I was again told ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do’. I ended up scoring in the top five for my exams and felt like I had some sort of adrenaline to keep going. If you let every life event put you on hold, then your life will be at a standstill.
I try and maximise what tools I have available to me, for example, I love to research in my spare time and once I qualify I will go on to do my Masters (again part time!). I often hear people say ‘I am spending so much money on qualifying into Law I could have used this on a house deposit’. My view of this now is that you have to spend the money and view it as an investment in yourself whereby your actions and understanding of the law should produce a much greater return.
Trainees will be at a stage in their career where they are building themselves up and their contacts. My advice would be to really get yourself known the legal industry and those industries that compliment some of the work we do. This can be done simply by attending networking events, corporate events, and career fairs. I often deliver talks or seminars at the local university as part of their careers week. This not only builds up future contacts but it improves my confidence and speaking skills which I think is so important. Above all I would say always keep your business card on you! Don’t let the opportunity to take on a new client slip!
My advice would be to really get yourself known the legal industry and those industries that compliment some of the work we do.
In terms of what I want to qualify into, I do have my heart set on a particular department but only time will tell! I have done a seat in residential property and I am now in the Private Client team. I am based in the beautiful Market Harborough and shortly moving to our new bigger and better office on Coventry Road!