Persistence and passion - the rollercoaster journey of becoming a trainee solicitor.
Before turning to a career in law, I had been working in the hospitality industry for 10 years when I made the life changing decision to embark upon my journey to become a solicitor. I had no previous legal experience but signed up for the GDL and LPC with a total determination to succeed. I continued to work part time as a chef and took every opportunity to sign up for all the pro bono events and work experience opportunities I could get my hands on (I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do!). During that time I was applying for vacation schemes and training contracts and rode the rollercoaster of emotions that come with each invitation to an assessment centre and the heart-breaking rejections.
I kept thinking 'I will never make it' and 'maybe I made the wrong move' but finally I managed to land a paralegal job after the LPC finished and I began working with a small corporate firm. From there it was onwards and upwards so when an opportunity arose for a paralegal position in Shoosmiths I applied without hesitation as I'd had my heart set on this firm since the outset.
After working with the firm for a few months I then applied for the training contract (for the third time!) and was invited to the assessment centre. It was the best feeling in the world when I received the call the following week to be told that I had been successful. I celebrated for weeks!
I had been with the firm for nearly two years before starting my training contract. I found my two years of experience invaluable to building the skills, confidence and relationships required to be a successful trainee so I would highly recommend to those who haven't already got a training contract to take a paralegal position in the meantime.
I was nervous about meeting the new trainees when it came to induction week, I was convinced I would be the oldest one there or the only one that had come such a long way round to getting here. I was so relieved and encouraged to find that there was such a range of people in our cohort who had come from different backgrounds and experiences as well as different ages and what an amazing group of people they are!
Induction week was intense but exciting and so much fun, I feel like I have built long-lasting relationships in such a short amount of time and a great network of support to help me throughout my time as a trainee and beyond.
I've learnt so many lessons since I started out on my journey but there is something I really want to pass on to those considering a change in career or those who think they will never catch a break - there is a light at the end of the tunnel so don't give up. It will be hard and it will be emotional but in the end it will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. It's never too late to try and never too soon to take the next step so go all guns blazing into whatever it is you really want to do and your dedication will be sure to pay off.
If you're applying for training contracts, you may also be interested in reading "Personality: don't fake it, make it!" by Samantha Hope, or "Awesome application advice" by Kiran Chatha, or watching our latest advice videos.
If you have any specific questions, you can contact the graduate recruitment team via twitter or email.
Click here to read more posts with advice about standing out from the competition on the Shoosmiths careers blog.