Case study

Sasha Taylor — Trainee Solicitor

Womble Bond Dickinson

Sasha studied for a law degree at the University of Exeter. She is now a trainee solicitor with Womble Bond Dickinson

What course did you study and where?

I graduated with an LLB in Law with European Study, which included an Erasmus year at University College Dublin. After working for a number of years and securing my training contract, I completed my Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the University of Law.

How did you get into law?

I wanted to gain real-life legal work experience before committing to a career in law. I worked as a legal intern at a US software company, and then as a conveyancing paralegal at a national law firm.

Both roles helped me to better understand the type of firm and area of law I wanted to work in, which led me to a paralegal role in the commercial property team at Womble Bond Dickinson. Following two years at the firm, I applied for a training contract and received an offer.

What's a typical day like as a trainee solicitor?

In my current contentious seat I take notes during meetings, conduct research and prepare documents and correspondence to be filed at court.

There are also plenty of opportunities to get involved in business development activities, such as writing articles on recent legal updates and case law for the firm's website.

What do you enjoy about your job?

As a trainee you work in departments and areas of law that you’ve never studied before. Although this can be challenging, it’s very rewarding to put everything you have learned into practice by the end of the seat.

What are the challenges?

As part of the rotation process, you are required to move departments every six months. This means getting used to a new team and different ways of working, which can be challenging. However, moving around frequently does help you to integrate into the firm as a whole.

In what way is your degree relevant?

In practice, working in a law firm is very different to studying law. However, my degree has equipped me with many skills expected of a trainee solicitor such as organisation, written communication and analytical thinking.

How has your role developed?

As you start to develop your knowledge and legal skillset from spending time in different seats, you are given more responsibility and autonomy. As I am only approaching half way through my training contract, my focus is still very much on qualifying into an area of law that I enjoy.

How do I get into Law?

  • Research - It's easy to fall into the trap of copying and pasting applications when you are applying to so many firms. However, firms know when you haven't done your research or tailored your application.
  • Attend networking events, seminars and workshops - These raise your profile and give you something to speak about at interviews. They also help you to develop key communication skills.
  • Don't let rejection get the better of you - The training contract process is competitive and it can be disheartening when you get rejected. I was unsuccessful the first time I applied, but I made sure I took the feedback on board and learned from it when I next applied.

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