Law School Attended
Trainee solicitor | Travers Smith
- State school educated
- First generation lawyer
- Regional accent
Having completed a law degree at Newcastle University, I now work as a trainee solicitor at Travers Smith, a London-based full-service commercial law firm, and have done since September 2012.
As a first generation lawyer (and indeed ‘professional’), my decision to become a solicitor was entirely my own – informed through a combination of academic study and vocational work placements and not through friends or relatives who worked in the industry. In my mind, the independence of my decision to pursue this career has benefitted me immeasurably – from having a convincing and honest (albeit not particularly exciting) reason for wanting to become a lawyer to providing a comforting context during stressful periods at work.
When I first began to seriously consider becoming a lawyer I was extremely concerned that my working class background and strong northern accent could be detrimental to my chances of securing a training contract at a top city firm. In fact, during certain periods at university, I made a conscious effort to change my accent and become more neutral in my delivery. Unsurprisingly, I failed in my attempts to change my accent; I am eternally thankful that I did. If anything, my background and accent have helped me distinguish myself in a career that is saturated with people possessing great intellect and people-skills.
Given that I am a mere one year into my training contract, I am still fully aware of the perils and stress of training contract applications – how do I stand out, to which firms should I apply, to vacation scheme or not to vacation scheme, etc. – and that is one of the many reasons I have volunteered to become a professional ambassador for AS. The path to becoming a solicitor is a confusing maze and sometimes a little guidance goes a long way (indeed, without the help I received from AS, I very much doubt I would have secured a training contract at a firm such as Travers Smith).