Tell us a little bit about your background…
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.
What was your experience on your programme like?
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.
How has your career developed after the programme?
I graduated from Newcastle university in 2018, and then went straight on to complete the LPC at The University of Law before beginning my training contract in 2019 at DLA. I am now in the second seat of my training contract, my first seat was in the construction department which I thoroughly enjoyed and found very interesting. I am now sitting in the media, sports and entertainment branch of the intellectual property department. Sport and fashion are two of my biggest interests outside of work so I feel very lucky that these are the sectors I get to work in in my current department.
Once I started my training contract I knew that I wanted to be involved in coordinating programmes like the Sutton Trust’s Pathways programmes and that is why I am now a co-ordinator of DLA’s Head Start Programme, and it is one of the many aspects of the job that I enjoy and find very rewarding.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to qualify and work as an Associate at DLA, and work hard to become more senior at the firm. I also want to continue to support social mobility at the firm. Social mobility is something that is very important for me and something I want to be involved with at the firm to help develop ways that we can become more diverse. I am very proud to be at DLA who are working towards removing all barriers to entry into the legal profession, working with the Responsible Business team is something that I find to be a really important part of my job, and something that I want to continue to do throughout my career at DLA. I know how much value diversity brings to the firm and the legal profession, and I want to play a part in making the profession more open to everyone no matter what background they have.
Do you have any advice for future Sutton Trust students?
Definitely apply! Being on the programme could open so many doors for you, just like it did for me. If you’re looking at a career in law, when you get to the point of applying for training contracts, I would recommend limiting the number of applications you make to the firms you could see yourself fitting in and picture working for. Take some time to think about what type of person you are and the values that are important to you. Try and gain as much work experience as you can (both legal and non-legal), before you apply for training contracts, and whilst doing so build up a network of contacts. Most of all, work hard and it will 100% pay off.