Katie is one of our valued alumni volunteers and regularly shares insights and advice to students on our Pathways to Law programme and to fellow alumni starting out in the sector. Katie shared her experience growing up and how the Sutton Trust helped her on her career path:

“I grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool, not far from the Aintree racecourse, the home of the Grand National. The school I went to has closed now, but I loved my time there. We didn’t have a sixth form so I had to be pretty proactive. I always had a mind for words rather than numbers, so decided to go to college to study Law, English Language and English Literature. While I was there I got work experience at Weightmans, which is an international law firm, and met my mentor at the time, who really helped me understand that a career in law was something that I wanted, and helped me pursue it; helping with applications, and setting up shadowing and further work experience for me.

I received a scholarship to study the law LLB at Newcastle University. I was one of the twenty students across the whole university chosen for this scholarship which was called the ‘Promise Scholarship’, which paid for half my tuition fees plus a bursary each year to support me in my studies. I was inspired to pursue a career in law as I always had an interest in theory and philosophy as well as the world of business and commercial affairs. A career as a solicitor allows me to combine academically interesting work, with real-world commercial application, I am very lucky to have a very supportive family who have always been incredibly supportive of my career choice.

Katie’s experience on Pathways to Law Plus whilst she was studying her undergraduate degree helped her confirm and progress her plans to achieve her career goals. She reflected on how exactly the support is helpful, for students like her:

“On the Pathways to Law Plus Programme I spent time at various different law firms including DLA Piper and by the end of the scheme I knew DLA was for me. They’re a firm that I share the same values with, and who understand the importance of social mobility demonstrated through the firms’ recent Social Mobility Pledge, which I am very proud to be a part of. Being on Pathways Plus literally opened the door to my legal career. I was set up with a Senior Associate as my mentor from DLA and undertook a week’s work experience at the firm, both of which I was able to talk about on my application form and at the interview for the vacation scheme.”

After securing a training contract with prestigious law firm DLA Piper, Katie moved to London to complete her training. She has since qualified as a solicitor and is an Associate in the Employment Group at the firm’s Manchester office. The support Katie received has spurred her on to become more involved in social mobility within the legal sector, and she shared how she’s playing her part to help:

“I am part of the Lord Mayor’s “Future Leaders Programme” working to develop social mobility projects. This group aims to break down barriers for young people who wish to pursue a career in professional services.”

Since this interview, Katie has also worked with the Sutton Trust on the Speaking Up research into accents. Katie spoke of how when moving away from Liverpool, she revealed how she sometimes felt self-conscious about her accent and felt it could be a barrier to her in her career. Despite this, Katie has taken it in her stride, embarking on a successful career in law, as well as volunteering for various social mobility projects including working with us here at the Sutton Trust.

Interested in knowing more about how you can volunteer for us? Contact the alumni team for more information.

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