Beenay Hasan: Making the Most of Opportunities

I have always aspired to work within law. Although as a young child I did not have much idea of what it was like to work in the legal sector, or which area of law I would find myself in, I always admired individuals who spoke up for people and protected other’s rights.

As I grew older, I learned more and more about law and started my real steps towards my career through getting a law degree. Although I started my first year of university a year ago feeling positive that I wanted to go into criminal law, that thought changed with every bit of research I carried and with every conversation I had about criminal law. The thought of having the liberation of an individual in my hands and dependant on my ability and effectiveness of my work made me shiver. By the end of the year I knew that criminal law was not for me.

This was also a starting point for me to realise I needed to keep my options open in case this happened once again and motivated me to search for opportunities which would aid my decision making and lead me towards my ultimate career. This was the point where I started looking for work experience, mini pupillages, vacation schemes and any other opportunities which I could reach.

I started my applications for vacation schemes and mini pupillages. Unfortunately, most of them were based in and around London which was not ideal for me. As a result, I started contacting barristers, law firms and legal personnel that I had met through social media. I also made contact with law firms that my family had business with to see if they had any opportunities I could take advantage of. This was more daunting that contacting firms online, and very much out of my comfort zone. That said, I am really glad I did. I managed to make use of the connection I had with the firm, and to persuade them to invite me for an interview.

After attending my first interview in which they took a copy my CV and asked about my interests and career goals, they came back to me with an offer for work experience for a few weeks. After attending my first week where I displayed my best self, revealed my commitment, passion and independency, they offered me a volunteer position on regular basis. I was delighted to further hear from them about their thoughts on my ‘bright future’ and that they would be highly likely to offer me a part-time legal assistance position next year.

During the past few weeks, I have undertaken file opening for new clients, taking witness statements before client’s interviews, made amendments to interviews where needed (with the client’s consent), gathered evidence to support their cases and interpretation. Each and every task that I have done has taught me something whether large or small. But the significant part of my role and one which I enjoy the most is that I have met so many incredible people from clients to solicitors and case workers to hugely successful barristers. It has been a great networking opportunity as well as work experience. I therefore advise individuals to make the most of any opportunity they are presented with, regardless of how insignificant it may seem there will be something knew that you learn, a new relationship built and a new connection formed.

I put myself out there, and I am now on track to achieve my childhood ambition of working within law.