My name is Remus and I’m currently a third year law student at Derby Law School. I have recently been successful in obtaining a training contract with Weightmans LLP, a top 45 UK law firm, achievement which required much dedication, hard work and ambition. I was attracted by a career as a solicitor from the early stages of my university education so I was highly motivated to apply for trainee solicitor roles in the summer after my second year. This materialised and I started submitting applications around May.
I was fairly optimistic about my chances of getting through to an interview because of my excellent academic results in the first and second years, being the first student to achieve a first overall for the second year in the past few years and being awarded the Dean’s Award for academic excellence twice. I had also gained crucial skills from academic engagement and with the help of my amazing lecturers, gaining experience in negotiation, mediation, interviewing and advocacy, all of which I knew were great assets to possess and to showcase in my applications.
I also had a fair share of legal experience, having been offered four mini-pupillages with chambers across the country and doing placements with a number of law firms, getting first hand experience with interviewing clients and conducting litigation in the criminal courts and immigration tribunals.
I developed an interest in Weightmans LLP after researching the firm and learning of their supportive culture, and their focus on the two most important aspects of the business: the clients and the people. I was passionate in my application as I really wanted to be part of the Weightmans family, and soon after submitting my application and going through the consequent psychometric tests, I received an E-mail inviting me to an assessment centre. I still remember how excited I was to tell mum about it.
After receiving the invitation, I really went into preparation mode, researching every part of an assessment centre and what it was likely to comprise, the types of exercises likely to come up and how the day generally unfolded. I also had to prepare a presentation for the day which was quite interesting. Albeit I understood there was an immense pressure on my shoulders, at the time I was incredibly relaxed and confident about the whole thing. I knew I could do it. I had to do it – I worked so hard to get here and nothing was going to stand in my way.
The day of the assessment centre came and I remember barely catching the train to Birmingham New Street as I had forgotten something crucial at home (so much for me being all chilled I guess). We were all assigned groups and I was in the blue group, meaning that my presentation and interview were first on the list for the day. My presentation went extremely well and so did my interview, being well prepared and asking some very competent and interesting questions myself. I was really lucky to have Paul McFarlane FRSA, partner in the London Office, on my panel, because he specialised in Employment Law and the day before my interview the Supreme Court quashed the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 which made a great topic to talk about during my interview, as it showed a great level of overall awareness of the evolution of the legal system and profession.
After my interview I had the team exercise and finally the written exercise, both of which went very well leaving me truly optimistic about my chances.
I got the news that I would be offered a Training Contract on the 10th of August and I remember I jumped with joy and immediately called mum to let her know of the great news. I had actually managed to be offered a trainee solicitor role with the firm that I wanted and hoped to work for! We threw a huge party to celebrate it that night.
Since being successful I have tried to use my experience to help other students achieve their career goals, having delivered talks on Training Contract success and Assessment Centre techniques. I will sure continue holding such talks for students at Derby Law School even after I graduate and commence my LPC with BPP Law School and perhaps even further down the line, once I will start my trainee role with Weightmans LLP.