My Legal Journey – from undergraduate degree to training contract
Many of us decide from a young age that we want to study law, whether it is to help people, or perhaps you like the idea of formulating and winning arguments or even because you’ve watched Suits and are taken in by the apparent glamour of a legal career.
Throughout this blog article, I will take you through my legal journey to date, from my University degree to my training contract…
My legal career began in 2013 at the University of Kent where I studied law. I threw myself fully into university life and had some of the best years of my life. I worked hard and enjoyed learning about different areas of law and applying myself to the academic rigours of university study.
Alongside studying, I also held a part-time job in a café then later at one of the local pubs. Not only did this help me financially, it also forced me to manage my time effectively and opened a whole new social sphere.
During my time at university I met a wide range of people and made lots of friends along the way. I was an active member of many of the University societies, travelling to Amsterdam with the Law Society and to the Alps with the Skiing society. I formed close friendships with the people I met at socials, worked alongside during seminars and lectures and others who popped up along the way! Being so far from home (I am originally from Durham), these friends became my support network away from home and I am lucky enough to still call many of them close friends to this day.
In my final year of university, I applied to Cripps for a training contract and, following a two-week vacation scheme, two interviews and an agonising wait, I received my job offer which was conditional upon me obtaining at least a 2:1 at university and successfully completing my LPC.
All in all,I had an amazing experience at university and I managed to successfully juggle studying for my degree, a part-time job and a (very!) active social life. I left three years later with a good degree, good friends and even better memories.
After graduating from University, I Spent 6 months working for a large telecommunications company followed by 6 months travelling the world. I managed to tick off much of my “bucket-list” and had lots of new experiences under my belt.
I was ready to embark on my next step towards my legal career – the LPC.
I moved to London in September 2017 to begin my Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP. Whilst a Law Degree at University is largely theoretical, the LPC prepares you for legal practice. All aspiring solicitors must take this course after completing a law degree or GDL (for those who didn’t study law as an undergraduate).
The LPC is divided into three areas of study: core practice modules, elective modules and skills (including advocacy, drafting and practical legal research).
On day one of the LPC I was introduced to my group – 20 other like-minded future trainees, including those from Cripps. During the course, we formed close-knit friendships immediately bonding as we were all in the same boat. We leant on each other during tougher days, celebrated together (usually at the pub!) when we completed exams and discussed our fears and excitement surrounding our training contracts over coffee.
I found the LPC to be an intensive course with lots of new information thrown at me. I started to realise how little my law degree had really prepared me for my future career as a solicitor! The year was also difficult as I was living alone in a new city away from family and friends; as a result I joined a new gym, met new people at social events and generally made the most of my year in London!
9 months and 14 exams later I was done with the LPC.
The 27th July
This date will be forever etched into my brain. Results day. After 5 years, the future of my legal career relied upon me passing all LPC exams.
I woke up at 5am, grabbed a coffee and waited for my results to be posted. At 7am the results were up and I spent the rest of the day grinning like a Cheshire cat – I had passed!!
The final stage in an aspiring solicitor’s career is the training contract, a two-year period of training within a law firm before you can qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.
I started my training contract with Cripps on the 3rd September and I am currently sitting in the Commercial Real Estate Team. All of my hard work over the past 5 years has paid off and I still can’t quite believe that I am here (I am still grinning like a Cheshire cat in case you were wondering!!).
It’s been a long journey but my top tip is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way during the academic stage of your training. Being a successful trainee is about being well rounded and the life experiences you enjoy (or not as the case may be) in the run up to your training contract are just as important as academic qualifications.