Lauren Mounteney

Trainee Solicitor

What did you study and where did you go to university?

I studied Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Archaeology) at the University of Nottingham.

Coming from a science degree background what attracted you to a career in law?

I was looking for careers that combined analysis and analytical thinking with strong interpersonal relationships and this seemed prevalent in law. It gave me the opportunity to evaluate problems and come up with a logical solution which provided the challenging environment I wanted to work in. The importance of engaging with clients and colleagues also gave the interpersonal environment I wanted to be part of.

Why did you decide to join TW?

I really liked the sector focus that TW has, especially Life Sciences and Technology. At TW solicitors specialise in these sector areas so, whether you work in the corporate or commercial teams, you can still work for clients in the sectors you are interested in. TW also attracted my attention because the Patents department was so well ranked in legal platforms and this was a key area of interest to me. One of the most important reasons I decided to join TW is how friendly the working environment felt and everyone there came across as very approachable. The firm constantly gets positive reviews from trainees on working life and, after meeting a range of people from the firm, it’s easy to see why. In particular their focus on acknowledging and supporting employee wellbeing shows they care for their employees.

You are currently still studying your law qualifications before joining Taylor Wessing next September (2021), can you give us an insight into the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC)?

The GDL is made of the seven core subjects that you have to study to qualify as a lawyer. These are: Contract, Tort, Criminal, Constitutional and Administrative, Equity and Trusts, Land and EU law. The idea of this is to get you up to speed with people who have studied law as a degree so when you begin the LPC you are all at the same stage. For each subject you do about 3 hours of prep, including watching online lectures and answering questions on the material, before having an hour long tutorial.

The LPC is more practical and teaches you about the processes that solicitors need to know. This includes how the court system works and how businesses are run on a day to day basis. The course also covers the skills needed to be a solicitor like interviewing, advocacy and legal research. So far, my first term has been a similar format to the GDL doing about 3 hours of prep for five subjects, although the tutorials are two hour long each.

Both of the courses are taught in a business focused way looking at fictional clients and how to solve their problems. As such, I think my STEM background gave me an advantage as I was used to answering short answer questions already rather than doing essays.

What would you say to other STEM students looking at a career in Law? What advice can you give?

When picking firms to apply to, be selective about the ones you genuinely want to work for and then spend time making sure your application is tailored to them. Careers in law are really competitive so it’s important not to get disheartened when applying. I did two vacation schemes at TW before getting a training contract on top of a lot of other rejected applications and interviews. Stay positive and you can learn from the rejections.

Commercial awareness can feel like a daunting prospective when applying as well. There may be areas that you didn’t study directly such as commercial transactions, however, having knowledge of STEM industries is still commercial awareness. STEM students often learn about their degree industries while at university so use that knowledge and think about the problems those industries are facing.
STEM students have a lot of transferable skills from their degrees that law firms really value, especially if like TW they have strong Patents departments. I think it’s easy to go into your application thinking that a STEM degree might not be favourable, but law firms do not see it that way. Explain the skills you have learnt and how they apply to a career in law and this will make you stand out from the other candidates. Be confident in what you have learnt on your course and good luck!

You can find out more about Lauren’s journey in our Webinar here.

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