My-First-Blog-Post: Work, What I Do and How I Got Here
I present to you my first official “non-welcome to my blog” blog post! I’m quite excited, is that sad?!
I thought long and hard about what I would kick off my first “proper” blog with. I eventually landed work! Exciting, right!?…
Now, I am obviously aware that there are SO MANY more interesting topics I could start with, but hey, I thought it’s important to let you know who I am and what I do so that I can be relatable as I post more. Plus, let’s start off dull (hopefully not too dull) as it can only be up from here!
I am a Trainee Solicitor
My name is Olivia. I work for a London based law firm, which is a private practice, and is comprised of the following main departments: Corporate, Litigation, and Property.
Now, I wont lie to you. The journey to get to this point, a trainee solicitor, was long and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
My “journey” (ew, I hate that word, but it’s appropriate here) started about 4 years ago. I was in my third year of undergraduate study, at the University of Birmingham where I studied Spanish. As a language under-grad, it’s mandatory to spend one year living in a country where your chosen language of study is the first language. I chose Sevilla, in Spain. It was absolutely fanstastic (see my blog post Something About Sevilla for tips and information about living abroad!)
I suppose it’s fair to say that at this time, my career, or anything remotely work-related, was not on my radar. But, once I sat down (after being lectured by my parents to sort out work post-uni), the law entered my mind.
The back story here is that whilst at secondary school (high school), at the age of about 15 years old, all students were required to undertake some compulsory work experience during the summer. It was an attempt to force us into a professional environment and grow up, as we were about to embark upon the first of our challenging years of exams, which were so crucial to securing jobs for our futures.
Well, surely enough, my parents have a surprising amount of friends connected to law firms. So, 15-year old me, was off to work in a big law firm in Central London for a week during Summer ’08 (jeez, I feel old!). Little did I know that this one week was going to have the most profound impact on me and set me on my path.
So, to cut a long story short(er) (feel free to ask for the detail, should you care), but when it came round to choosing my career path in that penultimate year of study abroad, I had one thing in mind… becoming a lawyer.
Having decided that I wanted to go down the solicitor route, as a non-law undergraduate, I had two further years of studying ahead. The first year was the law conversion course (which every non-law undergrad has to do), known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and the second year, which everyone has to do (irrespective of law/non-law undergraduate degrees), the practical side of the law, known as the Practical Law Course (PLC).
Following these two years, I would be academically qualified as a solicitor, but not practically. The next step to reach full qualification, involves a two-year training contract programme with a law firm, to eventually become a Solicitors Regulatory Authority approved solicitor.
As I approached the point of thinking about the academic study part in 2015/16, I was a little behind the curve and was delayed in sending off applications to law firms. (Please see my post on the Journey to Becoming a Lawyer for more detail on the timings and process – although I note that this is specific to my route to the law, as there have been significant changes since I began this journey and there are subsequent changes being made at the moment).
Many students are lucky enough to have their GDL/LPC sponsored by the firm they will then go on to do their training with. I was not so lucky, as I was slightly too late!Therefore, I started my GDL course without an offer from a firm for a training contract. It was stressful. Whilst juggling the copious amounts of work, I was also using every spare moment to apply for training contracts, without success, might I add. It wasn’t until I managed to get some work experience in a law firm for the summer between GDL and LPC (simply for the purpose of boosting my CV, as I was very much of the opinion that this firm did not offer training contracts) that things began to look up.
Although my first “stint” at this law firm did not go well (I arrived on the Monday morning, stayed for 2 hours, and left as I was violently ill from what I have now determined was food poisoning), the firm kindly welcomed me back for another chance. During this week, I had a fantastic time. I was kept busy, exposed to a variety of work, attended court, and went to client meetings. I knew, (thank goodness), that I had made the right choice, and this was what I wanted to do.
To my surprise, at the end of the week, the firm told me that they were looking for a new trainee (commencing the following year, which was unbelievably perfect timing for me, as I had yet to complete the LPC – it was almost too good to be true).
I, of course, jumped up and down (internally obviously), and without boring you, went through the process in order to apply for a training contract with this firm. To my sheer delight, I was successful.
I went on to start the LPC towards the end of the year with a training contract waiting for me on the other side, which was all the motivation I needed to spur me on through some pretty intense, dark and lonely days. As someone who was never the top student throughout my academic career, it was as if something inside me switched, and I became completely focused and determined, a law-learning machine, if you will. I completed my last exam in June 2017, began my training contract in September 2017, and attended my graduation the most proud I’d ever been of myself in November 2017.
Here I sit, a year on from starting my training contract currently in the corporate department of at that same law firm that blessed me with the opportunity to gain some work experience for a week.
I have mixed thoughts on how this first year has been, but stay tuned for more on that.
Do let me know your thoughts, comments, own personal experiences with similar things, on this blog post.
Until then, remember, “Stay Hangry”.
~The Hangry Lawyer, xoxo~