2016-17 Aspiring Solicitors commercial awareness competition, please follow the link or see our Aspiring Solicitors Events page for more details.
Aspiring solicitors was founded by former, Norton Rose Fulbright, solicitor Chris White; targeting undergraduate and postgraduate aspiring solicitors. It seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession in various ways. These include: providing free access, opportunity and assistance to students from underrepresented groups; educating and informing the next generation of the legal profession and promoting and encouraging diversity from within the profession.
As a student, Chris experienced how a lack of diversity within the legal profession became an obstacle to entering his desired career path. After qualifying as a solicitor with Dechert LLP, Chris decided to mentor and provide support and guidance to students who would otherwise find it impossible to secure training contracts, vacation schemes and other legal employment. He set up Aspiring Solicitors (he has now left private practice) to promote diversity and has successfully partnered with a plethora of law firms and legal organisations to increase gender, ethnic and social mobility to ensure the legal profession is reflective of society and client base.
At the University of Bradford, we have developed an active Aspiring Solicitors team. Over the academic year, several events were held. These included employability workshops, CV workshops and mock interviews. The employability workshops were very well received, because they provided a fresh outlook on how competitive the legal profession actually is. Many students reported how this session better enabled them to draw on skills and experiences they never thought would be of any importance – and would have left out of their application - when applying to law firms. Examples include: having a part-time job, being a single parent or a carer to parent or child. These not only demonstrate commitment and resilience but the ability to manage time effectively; some of the many key competencies required by many law firms.
The CV workshops were always well attended by students and were often over-subscribed. Many students find it difficult to ‘sell themselves’ on their CV. These workshops enabled students to understand how to format CVs in a style which law firms like to receive and how to effectively get across key skills and attributes succinctly in a way which adds value to an application. As Chris mentioned in one of the workshops, recruiters only look at a CV for eight seconds before they make a decision. Students always appreciated these sessions and the insight they provide.
The mock interviews gave students the opportunity to refine their interview techniques and get to grips with what the interviewer is asking. The whole purpose of an interview is not to catch the interviewee out, but to understand the interviewee further and really dig deep in to their experiences and academic record. Students enjoyed taking part in mock interviews because it gave them an opportunity to experience what a vacation scheme/training contract would entail but at the same time, understand the rationale behind the questions asked and provide an answer which draws upon their experiences and makes full use of their skills, attributes and personality.
Copyright: Bradford University Law Society (2017)