Current Employer: Wolferstans Solicitors
Current Job Title: Trainee Solicitor
Current Location: Plymouth
“Get work experience and find volunteering opportunities; work experience is invaluable, not only to make you more employable but to give you something to talk about at future interviews.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
I was initially in the Royal Navy for 19 years, but decided for a career change. I started my new career at the end of the second year of my LLB Law degree, working as a paralegal for Wolferstans Solicitors in the Family Department and Armed Forces community team. Since then I have moved to the Personal Injury Department but continue to work within the Armed Forces community team, utilising my service experience and combining it with a career in law. Not only am I learning to be a Personal Injury lawyer, but I also handle all the initial enquiries for anyone in our armed forces community.
How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?
The Law School’s Law Clinic, but specifically the South West Employment Rights Centre, provided me with the opportunities to learn about the practicalities of law and work with clients. The supervisor, Alex Passman, was instrumental in my progress and encouraged me every step of the way to keep challenging myself, to step out of my comfort zone.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
The most difficult thing for me has been the transition from working in a service environment to working in the civilian world: they are different, and it’s not until you experience it yourself that you realise just how different they are.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
The best part of my (law) career to date has been my employers wanting to be part of the Armed Forces Day in Plymouth; supporting the Armed Forces community has not only been the most exciting aspect but something that makes me extremely proud. As a veteran, to work for a firm that supports our Armed Forces in such a huge way is an amazing and exciting opportunity.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Get work experience and find volunteering opportunities; work experience is invaluable, not only to make you more employable but to give you something to talk about at future interviews and to help you to decide what it is you really want to do.
What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?
The practical side of the course was really helpful in enabling me to talk about the skills I had learnt when I went for an interview. A number of things which I learnt during the course were talking to clients, drafting letters, researching, and mooting competition.
Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?
I didn’t complete a placement, but I did volunteer in SWERC for 14 months. I started in my first year and finished when I took up employment at the end of my second year with Wolferstans solicitors.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
Coming eighth in the National Mooting final during my first year, having beaten Cambridge in round two! Being nominated by the Law School for the Attorney General Pro Bono Awards in 2015, and then being selected as a finalist and attending the presentation ceremony at The House of Commons was also pretty special.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?
My son is applying for university to start in 2017 and I am encouraging him to study at Plymouth; it has all the convenience you need, it has a friendly atmosphere, and it has a great social calendar. I’m hoping to work with Plymouth University to encourage other service leavers to consider Higher Education.
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