Trainee Solicitor at Accutrainee Limited seconded to IBM United Kingdom Limited.
As a Canadian, I came to the UK to study the accelerated two-year LLB programme at the University of Kent. During this time, I took the opportunity to moot, volunteer at the law clinic, shadow and undertake an internship at a private practice firm to gain practical experience to complement my studies.
Throughout my educational career and whilst applying for training contracts, I hadn’t firmly decided on whether I wanted to work in private practice or in-house. I applied for a training contract in both areas. Application after application, I was rejected and due to the nature of the training contract process, I did not receive feedback. Of course, after receiving over 50 rejections, this gradually took a toll on my confidence. However, each time I would pick myself up and remained resilient, holding the belief in my goal and personal ability. I sought guidance from those qualifying and those already qualified and continued attending networking events and reading relevant and helpful journals and books, such as Tomorrow’s Lawyers by Richard Susskind.
After completing the LPC, I secured a job as a Legal Advisor at Which?. This was a unique experience where I was able to work in-house, whilst directly engaging with and advising external clients and consumers nationally. Thereafter, I worked for an interesting company called Wilhelmsen Ships Service as a Commercial Contracts Analyst. I absorbed the knowledge and experience they had to share and earned credibility through the quality of my work and my ability to build relationships, such that I was then trusted to independently negotiate and advise on global, high-value contracts. During my eight months at Wilhelmsen, I was able to travel to both Rotterdam and Oslo to learn and develop the business.
"don't lose sight of what you want and be true to it"
Whilst at Wilhelmsen, I was offered a paralegal to traineeship opportunity with a family law firm. Although I wanted to qualify as a lawyer, I wanted to ensure I did so in an area that I was interested in and with respect, I wasn't interested in practicing family law. This is something I would strongly advise aspiring lawyers and others who might find themselves in a similar position to where I was – don't lose sight of what you want and be true to it.
After Wilhelmsen, I worked as a Paralegal for Mascolo Limited in their in-house commercial/corporate department. This opportunity allowed me to gain experience in areas I wasn’t initially comfortable or interested in venturing into. However, from this experience I have been able to broaden my skills and develop to become a more versatile soon-to-be solicitor. I have also gained an appreciation and developed my confidence in area I initially dreaded - corporate law.
After applying twice, I secured a training contract at Accutrainee Limited. Although I applied to various firms, both in-house and private practice, I am grateful that Accutrainee, who adopt an alternative business structure model, was where I finally secured my traineeship position. Accutrainee seconds its trainees to various private practice and in-house firms, ranging from media and entertainment private practice firms to FinTech in-house companies - which is where I am currently doing a seat in regulatory, compliance and general in-house with IBM (UK) Limited, through its business unit Promontory Financial Group. I have benefited considerably from the mentorship I have received at Accutrainee, as well as the company I am seconded to.
Despite my experiences thus far, I cannot say with full certainty whether I want to continue my career in-house or in private practice. I am however grateful for the opportunities I have had with Accutrainee and I am eager to explore life as a trainee and future lawyer in both areas. Personally, I appreciate the importance of deciding whether a person wants to work in-house or in private practice. However, I believe it is the type of work, culture of the company and the opportunities it provides, that would be my deciding factors. I want to work the long hours and put in hard work because I find the work I do interesting. I enjoy the challenge and thrive on the level of responsibility and accountability placed on me and appreciate the rewards of advancing my career and professional development because of this.
"this is a profession where if you want to grow and achieve, you will always have to work hard, regardless of whether you work in-house or in private practice."
Be aware, that the hard work doesn't stop once you've completed your undergrad, or once you've graduated from the LPC, landed a legal job, secured a traineeship or been admitted on the SRA's roll. I believe this is a profession where if you want to grow and achieve, you will always have to work hard, regardless of whether you work in-house or in private practice. It is easier to accept this when you enjoy what you do, and I feel privileged to have enjoyed my journey so far, from law student to trainee and I can't wait to see what the future holds.