My journey to becoming a Solicitor
15 July 2020 by Andreea Brindas
I moved to England from Romania in September 2013 with big dreams and high hopes for the future. I had a good idea of the path I wanted to follow and how I wanted my career to take shape. Little did I know that your plans and ideas do not always turn out the way you want them to – and sometimes, it is for the best.
In September 2013, I began to study Law at the University of Essex, I studied there for three years which proved challenging, especially the first year. I had to adapt to a different culture, a different environment and a different day to day language, all at the age of 18 as well as adjusting to adult life and living away from the family home for the first time. The first year was nothing but challenging but I stuck with it and every subsequent year became easier to tackle. In my second year, I felt comfortable enough to get a part-time job and even ended up working two part-time jobs and holding two volunteering positions in my third year – I always liked to keep myself busy! These experiences helped me develop good time management skills for which I am forever grateful.
I graduated from the University of Essex with a 2:1 and I was ready to conquer the world only to hit my first roadblock – I realised that I had no practical legal experience and so finding a job in the legal industry proved to be very difficult. Due to my financial circumstances after graduating from University, I took a full-time job in the hospitality industry and searched for my dream job in the legal world in the interim. I wished that someone would have warned me during my University years how important it was to gain experience in the legal industry.
In July 2016, I have came across a job advert for a post room assistant at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP (FJG). The role was not exactly what I was looking for but I was prepared to take any role within the legal industry in order to prove myself and build from the ground up. However, I was shortly informed that they already found someone else. Many applications and rejections later, I was in disbelief that despite my enthusiasm and ambition no one was prepared to take a plunge and give me a chance to prove myself. I had given myself a deadline of September 2016 before taking a break from applications and re-considering my options.
However, in mid-August 2016, I received an email from FJG inviting me to an interview for the post room assistant position as it was vacant again. I was thrilled to have my first interview request after so many rejections! One of the desirable experiences for the job was knowledge of how to use a franking machine – I had no idea what a franking machine was at that stage let alone how to use it – so I googled and watched many YouTube videos in readiness for my interview. I remember the day I got the call to inform me that I was successful and they offered me the position – I was over the moon, I could not contain my excitement to be given a chance!
Once I was in, I was prepared to put in all my effort and work my way up to where I wanted to be. After the first 6 months as a post room assistant, I was given the opportunity to work as a Paralegal in the Family Law team and gain some actual legal experience – regardless of the fact that the Family Law team was not where I wanted to be (I was always more interested in Commercial & Corporate matters), I took the opportunity in a heartbeat. I was thrown in the deep end but I like to think that I always thrive when challenged and the simple fact that after a short period in my new role I was entrusted with quite a lot of responsibility made me think that I must have done something right.
Once I was comfortable in my new role, I decided that it was time to take the next step to advance my career so I have enrolled with BPP University, London to study the Legal Practice Course and Master’s Degree on a part-time basis from September 2017. I was well aware that working full-time and studying part-time will be ‘full-on’ but I was ready to put my time management skills to test again. Little did I know that such skills would be put to the test more than I imagined. Due to an unforeseen incident, I was given an opportunity and a challenge at the same time – I was excited to step up and accept more responsibility but this also led to longer hours and overall pressure whilst still in my first year of studying my Legal Practice Course and Master’s Degree. I was nevertheless committed to my role and put in 100% effort to ensure everything was in order. From beginning to the end my role as a Paralegal provided a very good overall experience of a Solicitor’s day to day life which made it clear to me that I was on the right path.
I was thrilled to be offered a training contract with the firm and everything was plain sailing from there. I was offered the opportunity to train in the Corporate & Commercial team for a full year which worked well as it was what I wanted to qualify in. Despite the Covid-19 outbreak during my last trainee seat in the Wills, Life Planning & Probate team which started in January 2020, I had a very good experience and overall exposure to all matters with no business disruption due to the firms’ quick response to the changes.
Fast forward to the present, I am with still with FJG, having qualified as a Solicitor in the Corporate & Commercial team which is what I have always wanted to do. I am very grateful to the firm for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to prove myself when no one else did.
Our journeys are not always what we plan them to be at the beginning – mine certainly was not – but 9 times out of 10 you will find that all the roadblocks you encountered on your way pushed you onto the right path and you’ll find yourself exactly where you needed to be.
FJG attract applicants for training contracts via various different routes and encourage application at all levels from capable, dynamic, talented, and bright people. If you fit with our ethos, we will fit with your aspirations.