Dua Abbas is is currently participating in our Careers Plus programme. She tells us more about her experience at the recent Careers Plus launch event, as well as the wider learnings she’s taken from her time on the programme.

It is an absolute privilege to be part of the Sutton Trust Careers Plus programme, which held its launch event last Thursday at Hogan Lovells’ offices in London.

The Trust has had a leading presence in my journey of studying law, and this 8-month programme further highlighted the brilliant opportunities available to me to enhance my legal knowledge and further my career in law by networking, gaining essential skills and developing my understanding of the legal sector. 

We took part in an insightful day of activities where aspiring student lawyers were given the opportunity to gain exclusive insight into the programme’s partner firms: Hogan Lovells, Mishcon de Reya, and RBG Legal Services Ltd, alongside networking with their highly skilled and competent lawyers and trainees. 

The event began with an icebreaker to allow individuals to interact with one another and share their experiences and interests; it was a diverse and inclusive environment, with individuals from varying walks of life present.

We gained perspective by hearing from alumni who shared their journey and experiences within the Careers Plus programme and what their experience of the work placement aspect of the programme was like. They highlighted the exciting opportunities that had been opened for them following the programme.

This was followed by a session providing insight into the partner firms and the opportunities they extend to their trainees and lawyers, such as the chance to work abroad and to get involved with newsworthy cases, even as a trainee. 

Next, we attended a workshop on commercial awareness delivered by Melissa Andrewes of Rare Recruitment. She highlighted ‘commercial fluency’: the importance of developing our understanding of the world of business. A piece of advice which I took from this workshop was when reading the news, to be aware of the world and how it impacts different individuals, sectors and businesses and extend this practice throughout the course of your legal career. 

We also completed a case study, delivered by Megan Hulme, an associate at Mishcon de Reya and founder of the legal blog It’s All Hearsay. This introduced us to one element of the application process which many law firms implement. It highlighted the range of skills and commercial knowledge necessary for a successful legal application.  

Prior to this programme, I had not been aware of the application processes and skills required at those early stages, however working on the case study highlighted the importance of interpreting and analysing large amounts of information and applying theory in practice; skills which are necessary for lawyers to apply and provide advice to their clients.  

The event concluded with a panel of trainees at the different firms, in which we gained perspective into their lives and the different pathways to a career in law, followed by an amazing opportunity to network and speak to the trainees and lawyers. Throughout the event I was able to gain a deeper insight into how the role of a lawyer differs according to their area of practice, their team, and their law firm. This highlighted to me the importance of attending legal events and networking to discover the values of firms and what attracts me to their workstyle.  

I’m determined to acquire further insight into these amazing firms and continue to gain commercial awareness, a skill that was emphasised throughout the event.  

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