My name is Hayley, I am a Trainee Solicitor in a regional law firm based in Suffolk. I am currently undertaking my first seat in the Corporate and Commercial Department and I am due to qualify in November 2017.
I had been applying for training contracts since my second year at university, 2011. I estimate that I have sent approximately 100+ applications whilst studying and trying my hardest to find work placements.
In 2013 I found myself graduating with a First Class Law Degree but yet no training contract. Would the Legal Practice Course be worth it? I thought. I had a few work placements on my CV but nothing of major importance. I decided to study the LPC part-time and work full-time, this was so I could apply for a job in a law firm for experience, and not have the financial drain of the LPC.
My first job after graduating was a 'Trainee Conveyancing Secretary'. Not what I had originally in mind, but it was legal based and a steady income. After 3 months of typing all day I decided I needed more responsibility, I moved to a firm based in Suffolk and became a 'Conveyancing Assistant'. This lasted for approximately six months, whereby I was then promoted to 'Conveyancing Executive'. This meant that I was handling my own case load of residential property transactions. At last, I had a position with responsibility.
Whilst working at these firms I was continuously applying for training contracts and struggling my way through the LPC. I only had one interview for a training contract, however I didn't get through to the second round. I found the assessment day to be exhausting and terrifying. There were evidently a lot of candidates that had done this before, they were pros at the assessments. I, however had no idea what I was doing.
Regardless, I was lucky. The firm had seen something in me and rather than progress me to the second round of interviews they offered me a job as a 'Commercial Property Paralegal'. At last, I could finally get away from the horrors of residential property. I loved every part of this job and it was great that I was using more of my legal skills learnt on the LPC, particularly from my property module.
It was in February 2015 when I received an email from another firm based in Suffolk. I had applied there some time ago for a training contract. It had been a few months and I shouldn't really admit this but I had somewhat forgotten I had even made the application! I was asked to attend an interview in March and I obliged.
My interview lasted approximately 1 hour where I also had to give a presentation on 'Social Media and the Law'. I felt like I had really pleaded my case, I made sure I had an answer for every question and I was not going to let this go. The day after the interview I received a telephone call to say that I had been offered a training contract. I couldn't believe it! Five years of law school and 100+ applications, I'd finally done it.
As someone who has had to figure a lot of her legal journey out for herself, I've decided to keep a blog/diary of my time as a Trainee. I will also be providing coursework, revision and interview tips, any help that I can give to someone on the same journey as me is great.
Please feel free to look around my blog, I hope that at least some of you find this helpful. Please also follow my twitter account at @almostasol