Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be where you are today?
I first considered a career in Law during sixth form. The head of sixth form noticed that I had a flair for writing, as well as strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and suggested that I might enjoy a career in Law. I decided to give it a go and applied for some work experience at a city firm, where I got the opportunity to conduct legal research, attend conferences, and draft articles for the company website. The experience was powerful in shaping my aspiration to become a solicitor; I loved how fast-paced and collaborative it was and could see myself thriving within the legal world. After my A-levels, I successfully completed an LLB and an LLM in Corporate Law at Queen Mary University, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then worked for a Service Management Software supplier as the paralegal for their London and Manchester offices, a fantastic experience which built up my exposure to lots of interesting legal work, from T&Cs and NDAs to negotiation and GDPR. The role challenged, inspired, and motivated me, and helped me to secure a vacation scheme and then training contract at BCLP.
How did you find out about Bright Network?
I first came across Bright Network when I was applying for vacation schemes during my final year at university. The platform was a fantastic resource - I could access in-depth overviews of all UK Law firms in one place, as well as being able to learn about life at these different firms through a range of digestible videos and articles. It was on the Bright Network platform that I first discovered BCLP and had the chance to explore their secondment opportunities.
You attended the BCLP x Bright Network Race for Change event. What was that like?
The BCLP Race for Change event was an incredible experience, and one which really re-affirmed in my mind that BCLP was the law firm for me. On the day, I heard from individuals at all different levels, from trainees and associates to senior partners. They shared their personal career journeys and gave great advice about how to apply for training contracts and excel at assessment centres. I began to see myself working at BCLP in the future, partly because of the values they embody – they’re committed to hiring down-to-earth and friendly people regardless of race, ethnicity, or background.
I would advise all Black aspiring solicitors to attend events like Race for Change. They’re an incredible opportunity to network with influential individuals in the legal sector and forge life-long connections. I met so many incredible people through attending Race for Change, many of whom I’m still in touch with today.
What stood out to you about BCLP when applying for training contracts?
The #1 thing that stood out to me about BCLP was their dominance in the Real Estate sector. The firm ranks first in various legal directories for Real Estate, and this is evident in the number of incredible clients they’ve worked with and buildings they’ve worked on, from the Cheese-grater and the Shard to the Walkie-Talkie. I got the opportunity to work in one of BCLP’s Core Real Estate teams during my vacation scheme there, and found it incredibly exciting and refreshing to be able to work on projects with such tangible results.
Another thing which really stood out about BCLP is their dedication to creating positive client relationships. The people at BCLP are not only highly knowledgeable in Law, they’re also experts in guiding their clients through legal transactions. I loved the firm’s focus on forging positive connections between people.
What advice would you give to students from backgrounds that are underrepresented within the legal sector when applying for vacation schemes and training contracts?
There are three key pieces of advice I would give to people in those situations:
Number 1: Go to networking events. It’s all well and good using online platforms and researching the firms you want to apply for, but in a competitive market that won’t be enough. In the commercial world, it’s important to show that you really want to work for a particular law firm, which is why attending networking events is so crucial. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the people at a particular firm and see if you fit in amongst them. The people make up the culture, which makes up the company, and so it’s important to experience a company’s culture before you decide to apply.
Number 2: Be commercially aware! This is so key, especially in the legal sector, as most students who apply for vacation schemes and training contracts these days are academically able. If you can demonstrate that you know what’s going on commercially in the world of Law, that will really help you stand out in applications, assessment centres, and interviews. In my assessment centre, I used a current news story to back up my point and the assessors really appreciated it. It shows that you can not only apply the law, but also that you know how to go about solving current problems. In terms of commercial awareness platforms, I find apps like Finimize to be hugely beneficial. They offer great digestible content and help you understand legal issues around the world.
Number 3: Be resilient! You may know someone that landed a training contract their first time applying. But believe me, the vast majority of us have spent years refining, grafting and pushing ourselves to secure a training contract at the law firm of our dreams. Resilience is what will get you there - so don’t give up!