It’s always useful to hear about other people’s path into law and here is Shibli Begum’s story about the trials and tribulations of pursuing a legal career and some of her tips to aspiring NQs looking for that first position:
Why did you make the choice to go into law?
As cliché as it may sound I always liked the thought of helping people and problem-solving so a career in law appealed to me. I also liked the idea of going into a client-facing industry which allowed me to liaise with clients by various means and to be exposed to varied people with different needs.
Can you tell us about your path into law?
Initially, I decided to take law at A-Level as I didn’t want to commit to a full degree until I knew more about it and whether it suited me. During my degree I wavered a few times on whether I would continue to pursue a legal career so took few jobs in between before committing myself to the legal path.
How long and difficult did you find it to secure that initial role?
Whilst studying I found it really difficult to secure an initial legal role. A lot of firms won’t give you that chance if you don’t have experience, but you can’t get that until you get a break so it’s a real catch 22 situation. After my studies, like a lot of students, I had the tough balancing act of needing to gain legal work experience, but also finding a job and I often found myself thinking that my lack of work experience jeopardised my applications.
How did you approach Andrew at Origin Legal?
I stumbled upon Origin Legal by chance after applying for roles through Indeed. Andrew then approached me and was brilliant from the word go. He spoke to me about my goals, skills and interests before twinning me with only firms and roles that he knew would suit me on a personal and career level.
How did he transform your job search?
I didn’t consider myself an asset to a potential firm as I was newly qualified, Andrew really changed my thinking. He gave me confidence in my ability that I was now qualifying and deserved my opportunity. Andrew persevered with me and convinced me of my worth in applying to a large firm.
What made you choose the area of Residential Conveyancing you now work in?
It was my seat in Residential Conveyancing, during my Training Contract, which surprisingly changed my mind. As a topic during my LPC I found it quite slow paced and uninteresting. In practice however this was not the case, it was fast paced and definitely not mundane as everyday was different. For most people buying a house is their biggest life purchase and an exciting time. I found it very rewarding to support them through this process.
What was the toughest part of your legal journey?
Securing my Training Contract was not easy and I suffered a lot of knockbacks. I carried out work experience in a few firms but I really got my foot in the door by becoming a Costs Draftsman. This was a niche area of law which involved me dealing with legal costs. I enjoyed the work but costs was not the area I wished to specialise in and was lucky enough to be offered a Training Contract.
If you could go back and give your younger self embarking on a legal career any tips what would they be?
Stay calm and never give up. Eventually, it will happen for you. Don’t take the knockbacks personally; some firms will have 200 CVs hit their desk so yours may not have even been seen in reality. Tailor your CV instead of sending them in batches. Take those opportunities presented to you even if it’s not exactly what you are after, as this may be part of your journey and can open other doors and paths that you do want to go down.
What surprised you during your journey?
My biggest surprise was my levels of perseverance which I never knew I had and something I learnt about myself. If you asked me four years ago what I would be doing, I would have said that I would have given up the dream of becoming a Solicitor and perused another career. This is why I would like to play a part in helping other people get on the ladder and secure that first opportunity.
When do you start?
I start on Monday, I’m currently feeling a mix of apprehension and excitement. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a newbie and just want to impress. I’m confident in my ability and just want to get going.
Andrew placed Shibli at Birketts Solicitors in a Residential Property team in March 2019. If you are looking for roles within the legal industry in the East of England then speak to Andrew on 01206 233500 today.