“Winning the AS Commercial Awareness Competition created seismic changes in my life. The prize of vacation schemes offered the potential for an embarrassment of riches in terms of training contract opportunities. I was aware of a much subtler personal victory too. The process repaired a jaded and fragmented self-perception that I was not previously aware of, which I attribute at least partly to the structural friction I had experienced whilst attempting to overachieve in spite of race and class challenges over the course of my life. The CAC final was the first time it dawned on me that the room (even my competitors) actually wanted me to succeed – it was my job to bring my best self, stop overthinking, continue supporting others and channel my dissipating cynicism into making law more genuinely meritocratic. Supporting subsequent generations of aspiring candidates has been a deeply rewarding way to give back.

I had first interacted with AS through the Barclays Legal Experience Week and very quickly came to appreciate that the programmes are designed to promote the development of soft skills alongside the formal training and professional polish required to impress at interview. Intangibles such as whether a candidate is confident in potentially intimidating or unfamiliar spaces like glass and steel towers can determine their interview performance. AS is not simply a case of “getting a foot through the door” or “faking it until you make it” – the programmes build inalienable competencies that form the foundation for a sustainable career.”