"If, like me, you want to make use of the analytical and problem solving skills you developed studying your STEM subject, but cannot really see yourself taking on a career in that area, a legal career offers the opportunity to do just that."
I studied Biology at the University of Bristol
I joined TW mid-August 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic!
It was the law students I lived with in my first year of university who introduced me to law as a subject – I enjoyed taking part in the discussions they had, despite not really knowing what I was talking about! In terms of a career in law, I was attracted by the opportunity to be involved with a mixture of academic and commercial problem solving work. I also wanted to work in a collaborative, people-facing field, which I think a legal career provides.
Initially, I noticed TW due to their high ranking in the Life Sciences sector across all the legal ranking platforms. I then spent time researching the firm and the two points which captured my attention were the quality of work and clients TW offered and the extremely positive reviews from trainees and former employees. The firm's sector focuses and the type of work and clients which stemmed from those were of great interest to me – working for a firm who are forward-looking and innovative was where I wanted to be. Furthermore, the relatively small yearly trainee intake alongside the reputation the firm has of a friendly and welcoming environment and the recruitment process in general highlighted how the firm places a lot of value on the people they recruit as complete individuals, as opposed to merely focusing on academic success or work experience.
I started out by going to events put on by the university Law Society and Bristol firms in my second year, which is where I began to realise my skill set potentially suited a career in law. I then started applying for training contracts in my third year, completed the TW vacation scheme a month after my finals and was lucky enough to receive a training contract offer later that summer. Subsequently, I went on to study the GDL and LPC for a year each at BPP University in London before starting the training contract.
I'm currently in my first seat in the Real Estate team. I'm only a couple of months in, but already I've had the opportunity to undertake various tasks for a number of different transactions. Most notably, I have been able to develop my drafting technique through drafting multiple documents including transfers, statutory declarations, and rent review memoranda. I have also had significant client exposure through reporting to clients on the work undertaken to progress their matter and answering any queries they have, and by sitting in and taking a note on client meetings. Other work has included conducting research into specific points of land law, creating lease reports, running a completion and completing more general tasks which has helped grow my understanding of the full picture of property transactions.
Additionally, there are sub-groups within the Real Estate team which focus on business development in specific sectors which have been identified as being a potential source of business in the near future. These sub-groups provide the opportunity to get involved in areas of the business which might otherwise not be immediately available.
If, like me, you want to make use of the analytical and problem solving skills you developed studying your STEM subject, but cannot really see yourself taking on a career in that area, a legal career offers the opportunity to do just that. Coming from a non-law background does not put you at the disadvantage you might fear. Especially at a firm like TW, heterogeneity in experience is likely to make you stand out from other applicants. I remember worrying about my lack of legal work experience – however, although that experience is useful, it is not a defining factor. In my experience, spending time attending events and beginning to build your legal network is more valuable than being able to say you had a couple of weeks experience in a law firm last year.
Finally, It can be difficult to devote the time required to the applications around the contact hours and workload of your degree. However, I would stress the importance of taking your time over the applications and avoid the temptation to copy and paste answers to similar questions between applications. These applications are your first chance to highlight the skills and experience which make you different from the rest, so do not be afraid to discuss your STEM background!