Lauren Basham - Paralegal at The Flagship Group
Working in an in-house legal team - how did you find your role?
I actually found my job through my university law employability scheme. The company I work for were looking for property paralegals for a 3-week internship. A week into the internship they asked me if I wanted to stay on permanently as a paralegal as I already had some paralegal experience.
"I think working in-house has really helped me to understand how a big company works and how a legal team supports the business."
Were you actively looking for an in-house role or were you open to both in-house / private practice?
I was definitely open to both, I just wanted to gain some experience in a paralegal role before I started applying for vac schemes and training contracts. I think having experience as a paralegal made such a difference in helping me secure a training contract.
"A top tip would be to find a mentor - Lots of people are willing to help you out if you ask for it."
Where is your training contract? Is it in-house or private practice?
I’m going to be training at a Regional firm called Roythornes which is a private practice firm in Lincolnshire. Although I absolutely love working in-house, my company is very heavily property focused and I’m not sure what area of law I want to go into just yet.
How has your in-house role developed your skill set?
I think working in-house really helped me understand how a big company works and how a legal team supports a big company. It’s given me confidence with dealing with and communicating with other solicitors, drafting legal documents and other general day to day tasks. I think it has set me up perfectly for beginning my training.
What are you top 3 tips for aspiring students for training contract applications and in-house roles?
1. My first tip would try to be as proactive as possible in looking for legal opportunities, there are so many great things students can get involved in with their universities. I participated in client interviewing and negotiations competitions through my law society as well as pro-bono opportunities. I also reached out to a lot of legal professionals when I first started out and asked to shadow them, it resulted in a lot of great networking and work experience opportunities.
2. My second tip would be to make sure you are researching firms / companies properly. Many firms offer open evenings where you can chat to partners, solicitors and trainees. Also thoroughly look through a firms website, social media platforms which often give great insights into the type of firm they are and the different clients and transactions they may be working on.
3. My third tip would be to find a mentor. I am currently mentoring a first year law student at UCL, but I have a mentor who is a partner at Eversheds Sutherland. He provided me with invaluable work experience, knowledge of what firms were looking for as trainees and the kind of interview questions to expect. Lots of people are willing to help you out if you ask for it.