At the recent Graduate Jobs and Placements fair, we had the chance to sit down with a few more employers to get their insights into roles on offer and advice for students on the application process and more. This week, we talk to Leanne Gibson from Ramsdens Solicitors…
What are Ramsdens Solicitors looking for in a candidate?
A genuine interest in working in a law firm is vital but generally, someone who is pro-active and hard working. Work experience is not essential but for certain roles, will be desired. It is always good for a candidate to show what they can bring to the firm and they might evidence this by showing their willingness to promote the firm by attending networking events or careers fairs (like today for example).
If you do a law degree, you will learn a lot of practical skills that you will need to bring into the role with you. A key skill is being able to communicate and adapt your approach to different types of clients you’ll be dealing with – from vulnerable adults in the Court of Protection team to commercial clients during business deals.
Ramsdens expect candidates to have ambition, drive and motivation for their own career and for the future of Ramsdens.
They expect a positive “can do” attitude, commercial awareness along with a real passion for law, and a determination to succeed.
What can students expect from the application process?
It depends on your legal background and the role that you are applying for.
I definitely recommend getting work experience as an undergraduate.
To apply, you generally have to submit a CV and Cover Letter. Depending on the role in question, there may be additional requirements. If successful, you will be invited for an interview.
Part of the interview process also includes assessment days, where you get the chance to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Any hints and tips for students preparing for a career in Law?
I wish I had known that having a career in law is more than just knowing the law. For example, you need to comfortable attending networking events, throwing yourself into opportunities at your firm, writing blogs, being creative around CSR and getting involved in social media.
Social media is a huge part – most of my colleagues have professional Twitter accounts, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. Your presence on social media may well come up in an interview, so be proactive and do everything you can to prepare.
I also wish I’d got involved more with societies at university. I did mooting (practice trials) and University mooting competitions – which is good preparation, as advocacy is something that students fear the most entering into the legal world.
Confidence is obviously an important characteristic for the role – is it something you can learn on the job?
Confidence grows with knowledge and experience and I have certainly developed my confidence on the job. So use your initiative and grasp every opportunity both on the client and social side to grow your network and skills and confidence will come from that.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I went to Northumbria University in Newcastle and studied the four-year MLaw Exempting Degree which incorporated my three year undergraduate law degree, LPC and Masters. In my third year, I secured a summer temp role at Ramsdens and after completing my final year I got a Paralegal role in the Court Protection Team (who are responsible for managing the finances of elderly and vulnerable clients where they no longer have the capacity to do so themselves). I then applied for a training contract which I started in September 2021, and I am due to qualify in September 2023.
Any final advice for students?
Do as much networking (both off and online) as you can because it definitely wasn’t stressed enough when I was at university. It’s really helpful to speak to different professionals and businesses. I regularly attend Leeds Junior Lawyers Division events, and you can attend those from starting as a Legal Assistant.
Social media is also great for connecting with like-minded professionals but also ideal for sharing and engaging with interesting news and articles.
A final pointer is to just get as much experience as you can so that you can ensure that a career in law is for you.
Thanks to Leanne for taking some time to chat with us – applications for 2022 training contracts at Ramsdens open this week, find out more on their website. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
More articles like this coming soon, and you can see previous ‘five minutes with the employer’ blogs here.