Routes into Law: External Training Contract

I started to pursue a career in law after taking part in the Pathways to Law programme. Pathways to Law is a “widening participation scheme for sixth form students from under-represented backgrounds”. The two year programme aims to increase social mobility and help more young people to progress into the legal sector. I was studying for my law A-Level and, as part of the programme, was offered a 5 day placement at DLA Piper’s Manchester office. I took part in negotiation and CV writing workshops and responsible business activities.

I started my law degree at the University of York in 2014. Whilst at University, I applied for the Pathways Plus programme and tried to obtain as much work experience as possible. I knew that I was interested in commercial law, so I selected the following optional modules – company law, corporate social responsibility and employment.

In my third year, I applied for a vacation scheme at DLA Piper. Although I had visited DLA Piper, I researched the firm in detail. I was keen to apply to DLA Piper because of the firm’s global presence, practice groups and key clients. My application was successful and I was invited to take part in the summer internship in July 2017. The internship is three weeks in duration, commencing with a week-long induction programme held at our London office. The induction provides an advanced introduction to the legal sector and the firms practice groups. I had the opportunity to network with senior members of the firm and met students from across all seven UK offices.

I then spent the second and third weeks of the internship undertaking work experience in the Liverpool office. I chose to sit in the Real Estate and Litigation & Regulatory teams. I was made to feel very welcome and carried out “real” trainee tasks such as drafting a rent review memorandum and covering letter to send to the client. I gained a real insight into the kind of work that the firm undertakes. On the final day of the internship, I was offered a training contract and I was absolutely delighted. I then started my LPC at the University of Law in Chester in September 2017. DLA Piper recruits two years in advance, so I did not start my training contract until September 2019. I worked as a paralegal at a local firm in Liverpool from September 2017 (whilst studying for my LPC) until I started at DLA Piper.

DLA Piper is an incredible place to work and I have had an amazing experience over the last 18 months. The people that I work with are fantastic and I feel like a valued member of the team. I have had the opportunity to work on some really interesting matters and I continue to learn each day. Last year, I helped to organise the Pathways to Law work experience week that I took part in all those years ago. I have made some great friends along the way and could not have asked for a better start to my legal career.

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