I studied Geography at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and graduated in 2011. However, a career in law had always been my ambition. I was attracted by its diversity and the fact that it is constantly developing, making it both challenging and intellectually demanding.
It was during a school placement at a local law firm that I made the decision to read Geography at University and then to undertake the GDL and LPC upon graduation. The ability to carry out a law conversion after graduation meant that I could study a subject at university that I felt equally passionate about; its multi-disciplinary and global nature I believed would be complementary to a career in law. My degree trained me to look at issues from a variety of angles, to pay great attention to detail and to spot underlying trends, all transferable skills essential to a career in Law.
I also undertook several work experience placements in local high street, regional and city law firms. Having experienced work in these different areas I was certain that I wanted to pursue a legal career in a commercial law firm in London, as I believed this was where the highest quality of training and breadth of work would be found.
I joined BWB as a legal administrator in the Corporate & Commercial Department in July 2011 as part of the Graduate Entry Programme (Graduate Entry - Multiple Career Routes/Legal Administrator Roles). This allowed me to gain a detailed understanding of the day-to-day work carried out in a city law firm and to increase my commercial awareness. Following a year in this role I was promoted to the position of Paralegal and I was delighted to be offered my training contract in July 2012. I undertook my GDL and LPC at the University of Law and continued to work part-time in my role as a Paralegal, allowing me to put the theory learned in class into practice.
With the benefit of experience I have found BWB’s reputation as a ‘firm with a conscience’ to be truly embraced, permeating throughout BWB. This, in conjunction with the firm’s ethos of focusing on a commitment to justice and a loyalty to both employees and clients, makes BWB a rarity among law firms of its size.
BWB is the leader in the charity and social enterprise sector, working for a number of large national and international organisations. However, what appeals strongly to me, and sets BWB apart, is the fact that BWB not only works for charitable clients but also actively works to expand this sector. The generation of Community Interest Companies and organisations such as PARLEX, Trustees Unlimited and OnBoard, all demonstrate BWB’s commitment to the social enterprise legal sector in general and to providing a better service to businesses and social enterprises beyond those that formally engage BWB.
In my experience as a Paralegal at BWB, I found that regardless of how busy trainees, solicitors and partners were, they always found the time to explain to me the various aspects of their work, how it benefited the client and the legal background that enabled me to understand my role. Everyone in the firm is determined to work to the best of their abilities and yet do so in a friendly, relaxed and work conducive manner. This reputation, the work environment and ethos are strong reasons why I wanted to carry out my training contract at BWB.
I started my training contract in September 2015 and I am currently a first seat trainee in the Dispute Resolution Department. I have been given a lot of responsibility and front-line work and have attended meetings, carried out research, drafted letters of advice and attended court on several occasions. The firm also provides numerous opportunities for staff members to get involved within its wider community including the annual BWB Fantasy Football competition, a book club and the various activities and events organised by the Social Committee. I am excited about the rest of my training contract and would recommend BWB to anyone without a moment’s hesitation!