Simon participated in the Covington mentoring scheme in 2019/2020 and is studying Law at Queen’s University Belfast.
What did you enjoy about the Mentoring Scheme?
I most enjoyed the bespoke aspect of the mentoring scheme. The scheme provided the unique opportunity to receive informal, tailored, one-to-one advice to help me navigate the application process. The benefit of this was two-fold. First, I received advice from a mentor who had successfully navigated the process himself. All advice was backed with learned experience that allowed me to stay clear of the common pitfalls associated with applications. Secondly, the quality of advice I received was very much in line with what one would expect from a firm such as Covington & Burling. To have the opportunity to experience that quality first-hand was incredibly rewarding.
2. What did you learn from your mentor?
In terms of direct application advice, my mentor was instrumental in improving application writing and interview technique. On the former, I was shown how to use my CV and previous experience to effectively market myself to firms. On the latter, I received bespoke advice on answering competency and commercial awareness interview questions. This is where I found the bespoke aspect of the scheme particularly useful. I was shown where I was going wrong in my interview answers and how I could improve them. I do not believe there are many other opportunities for students to receive this level of individual guidance from top commercial firms, so this was something I very much valued.
More generally, I learned about life as a solicitor at a commercial firm in London. In particular, I gained a greater insight into the typical work of a commercial solicitor; how law firms maintain profitability; how training contracts are structured; the realities of work-life balance; and the advantages and disadvantages of the legal profession. I believe these discussions were as valuable as any substantive advice given as they helped me contextualise my motivation to become a commercial solicitor.
3. Has the mentoring scheme lead to any positive outcomes?
I am delighted to say it has. Following the guidance and advice offered throughout the mentoring scheme, I have accepted a training contract with a top City firm. For context, I had been unsuccessful after progressing to interview stage only once during last year’s application cycle. I believe the mentoring scheme has been significant in this improvement.
4. Anything else you would like to add
One last bit of parting advice. If you are fortunate enough to partake in the mentoring scheme, the benefit you will obtain from the scheme is very much conditional on how much you are willing to put into it. I would encourage all mentees to be proactive. Have a clear idea of what you would like to achieve with this scheme. Identify key weaknesses that you believe can be improved and how you can improve them with the help of your mentor. Listen to the advice you are given carefully. You will be in the very fortunate position of receiving bespoke advice from world-class lawyers, so avail of that.
On that note, I would encourage anyone interested to apply. There are few, if any, opportunities given to aspiring solicitors as tailored and rewarding as this. A successful relationship with your mentor may not only shape your success for this year’s upcoming application cycle but may shape the success of your future career. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
Interested? Find out more about Covington and the opportunites they have available.