Don’t pull the ladder up behind you

15 March, 2019

Training contracts are like gold dust. Many scramble for these ever so prized jewels, but so few find them.

Like a bird landing on a live wire, it was a huge shock to my system when I began my pursuit of a career as a lawyer. I decided to journal the most turbulent of journeys to securing a training contract, mentally noting the pattern of infrequent highs and colossal lows.

Nonetheless, journaling has fostered the attitude of gratitude, constantly reminding me of the fact that I did not get to where I am now, solely by the work of my own hands. Many have helped me along the way and in realising this, I decided to do my best to help others too as they take their first steps towards a career in law.

Is it really my duty?

I am sure that someone has helped you in some way, shape or form, even if it was just the partner who made the executive decision to offer you a training contract, and this should serve as a reminder that no man is an island. Whatever stage you are at in your legal career, there is always an opportunity to help those who have the slightest bit of hope that they will one day join you in the legal industry.

As a trainee, I sometimes have creeping thoughts that I am simply not qualified to help. Fellow trainee, Lauren Warner, has written an insightful blog post titled “Imposters, Professional Pressures and Perseverance”, centred around the feeling of unworthiness in the workplace. However, in conquering our feelings of inadequacy, we should seek to help others by believing that we truly have something to offer.

So how can I help?

Before you run off and establish version 2.0 of a successful and well-established organisation, think about how you can assist it. Are you aware of any other colleagues who are passionate about diversity in the workplace as much as you are? Would you like to join a mentorship scheme to help prepare university students for the dreaded ‘Adult Life’?

On the other hand, what innovative ideas do you have? Second year trainee, Natasha Holme, has funnelled her passion for diversity to spearhead Cripps Open Day 2019 which seeks to open the firm’s doors to those who are interested in becoming solicitors but do not have the required academic grades to apply for a vacation scheme or training contract at Cripps.

People will often reach out to you in the hopes of gathering support for initiatives such as the one mentioned above. I attended the Women in Property speed interviewing event, alongside Women in Property Chairman, Freddie Jackson, to help students prepare for future interviews with employers. In a week’s time, I will also be speaking on a panel of trainee solicitors at The University of Law, answering questions and giving advice.

Although you may not actively work at pulling up the ladder, it does not mean you have lent a hand to help those in need climb to the next step either.

So, what are you going to do?