I came to the University of Lincoln in September 2006 having lived in Lincolnshire since the age of ten. Whilst at University, I took an active role in the Law Clinic and the Law Society, although from what I can see of the current Law Society things have grown vastly since I graduated.
During University I was offered a fortnight’s placement at a law firm where my parents lived in Sutton on Sea called Grange Wintringham. I worked mostly in the conveyancing and private client departments and thoroughly enjoyed it. At the end of my placement I asked whether it would be possible for me to come back and they offered me a paid position to do holiday cover whenever I wasn’t at University. I did this for three years.
After University I went to Nottingham Law School where I completed my LPC. In the summer of 2010 I was offered a permanent position with Grange Wintringham initially as their receptionist and branch cashier. I then went on to pick up dictations for the conveyancing and private client departments when the reception was quiet. This progressed to me dealing with all registrations for all properties that the office completed.
Around Easter of 2011 (almost a year after finishing my LPC) I received a telephone call from a firm called Frearsons based in Skegness asking if I would like to come in to discuss a training contract. Traditionally Frearson’s didn’t take on Trainees, but when I was 16, my school organized a week’s work experience with them. Not long after starting my LPC, I sent my CV (noting this work experience) and a covering letter to the managing partner enquiring as to a training contract anyway. As I didn’t hear from them, I thought that the letter had been unsuccessful until I received this phone call almost two years later out of the blue.
I initially started with Frearsons on a three month probationary period with my training contract being signed at the end of it.
I had six months’ time to count towards my training contract so 18 months later I qualified as a solicitor. Unfortunately Frearsons were making redundancies at the time so they were unable to offer me a position as a qualified solicitor.
I duly signed up to an agency who managed to procure me three interviews for newly qualified private client solicitor positions and I got two job offers on the back of it. I chose to come to Chattertons where I am now.
I have worked for Chattertons for four years now and last year received a promotion to Associate Solicitor
My current role is heavily client facing. It is usual for me to meet with at least 3 or 4 clients a day. My main role is to deal with Private Client enquiries, this includes, Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection, Trusts and Tax. Every client who comes in has different requirements and so every day is different. I may think a client is coming in to talk to me about a simple Will and it turns out that they actually need to have advice about inheritance tax planning, or they need help with a complicated trust arrangement.
As part of my job I do a lot of home and hospital visits.
As a solicitor I am expected to do a certain level of marketing and networking. This is incorporated into my job role and can be anything from attending a structured networking event, to a country show, to taking a contact out for lunch. As I have progressed in my career, my marketing strategy has changed. When I first came to Chattertons, I did much more structured networking to get my name out and to meet contacts. Now that I am established in the firm, I concentrate on much more personal one to one networking and getting to know contacts over a coffee or lunch. I also write articles for the firm’s website.
I absolutely love working for Chattertons, there are lots of benefits to working for them. I have found that they are extremely flexible and appreciate that you need a work/life balance. They have recently introduced benefits for all staff including BUPA Private Health Cover and Death in Service Benefit that just gives some reassurance that my family would be looked after if I wasn’t here.
Using University of Lincoln’s Career Services
Careers Services used: Assistance with CV Writing; Interviewing Practice; Attendance at Law Fairs
I found the assistance invaluable to ensure that my CV was set out correctly. A CV is usually the first thing that a prospective employer sees and it is important that it is right.
It is also key that you practice for an interview. You need to make sure that you come across as confident and the only way to do that is through practice!
When I was at the University, they put on trips to various law fairs and I would recommend that you take them up on that. You will get to learn about the different types of practices that are out there and see what type of practice is for you. For me, I wanted to be able to enjoy family life as well as have a career, so it was fairly obvious early on that I wasn’t going to go to London and work for a city firm. You will also be able to hone those networking skills as you start to meet new people, that will become invaluable for your career going forward.
Best Career Advice
My best advice is to never give up. You may think that all of the applications are going to come to nothing, but you never know when an employer will pick up your CV and covering letter and give you a call.
I also recommend that you apply for any job in a solicitor’s office just to get some experience of what it is like to work for them. It doesn’t matter in the job is not what you envisage doing forever. This will give you invaluable insight into the workings of a law firm and it might open up other opportunities for you such as internal positions that may become available. Chattertons do take on trainees on a regular basis, but they are also keen to promote their paralegals to trainees if they show an aptitude for the job.
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Lincoln Law Graduate Case Study