Yes, you read that right.
For all of you law graduates that are out there and struggling to find even a paralegal position, I want you to read this post and think ‘This could happen to me!’ In a time when legal jobs are at their most competitive, you have to explore every opportunity in front of you. I chose Twitter to do this.
I found one mysterious tweet saying ‘A little birdie told me Eversheds has paralegal positions going…’ and an email address was given along with this tweet. I seized the opportunity and applied speculatively at first, inquiring if any positions were available and attaching my CV along with the email. I was told that it was the Litigation department that was recruiting paralegals and I thought ‘Perfect!’ – it’s where my background lies and the area in which my strengths are based.
I had a telephone call a couple of weeks later inviting me to interview, which I attended in November. The interview was fairly tough, over 15 competency based questions and many overlapped so I tried to expand every answer and give examples from every job I’ve had in law…along with trying to build rapport with my interviewer! A week later I was offered the position and I accepted, with no regrets yet. One thing about Eversheds was that I was completely surprised by the way everyone I met at the firm was so friendly and professional. Even now, two weeks into the job, I feel exactly the same way.
So I’ve now moved half way across the country, from Kent to Yorkshire to pursue a six month contract as a Litigation Paralegal with Eversheds, and I am loving it. I may joke about my social life being over since being given a Blackberry for my work emails, but in reality this is the job I have been working to for so many years and hopefully it paves the way to a training contract. I look forward to the late hours and putting in the effort because only I know how hard I have worked to get here….as I’m sure every one of you has too! And you know what, a job will not come and sit on your doorstep, you need to be dedicated and go out on the hunt, and not half-heartedly!
I don’t know about you but sometimes I really struggle to think of questions to ask at firms that I’m interviewing with. There’s such a vast knowledge base to research before you actually go in for the interview itself, that occasionally I draw a blank because I feel like I already know the firm and associates without having even entered the premises. (Please note: there’s a fine line between researching and stalking!)
So where do you do your research? Google is the obvious choice of search engine. The power of Google is almighty! But you will also need to think outside of the box, research online news sites, follow the partners on LinkedIn, connect on Twitter, read the firm’s blog (if they have one), newspaper articles, do the full works and it will help you be more prepared! It’s also become more and more important to have a social media presence online, so start making accounts but always remember to keep them professional! The law firm I worked at in New York would Google search any candidates that applied, digging for dirt and inappropriate pictures, so I know first-hand that it happens.
Last month I actually had the partner of a law firm I applied to send me a friendship request on Facebook only an hour after I had sent them my application. It’s a difficult situation to determine: on one hand the partner is doing his research on you and you wouldn’t want him to make a pre-determination about you based on Facebook pictures or comments you’ve made in the past. BUT, you also don’t want to hinder yourself from getting an interview! The way I dealt with it was to explain to an associate (who had emailed me to say they were considering my application, and had mentioned the partner’s Facebook request) that I was grateful for the request but that I use Twitter and LinkedIn in a professional capacity, and not Facebook. It was a risk that I took by doing this but I had to stick to my guns, although I am sure that some of you may read this and disagree. But I still don’t regret my decision and I think that’s the important thing.
So I also wanted to extend the offer to all of you who read mine, Greg’s, Liam’s and Mark’s blogs, that should you have any questions at all feel free to ask me. You can comment on any of my posts or tweet me here. I would love to have more interaction with all of you or even if there are any topics you’d like me to discuss then please do get in touch and let me know!
I think things are going well for StudyingLaw.co.uk. We have had quite a few mentions on twitter and have even been referenced on university pages. This is very encouraging! But we’re still a young site and there’s much to do. Right now we’re working on a section with more barrister specific information and after that we plan to make some graduate profiles.
This will help students thinking about law at university get a clear picture of where they will be after they graduate. The only section of the site we’re having trouble with is this blog. I think my initial plan to just do anything legal based was a bit broad. So I seem to randomly be going from one subject to another. Athough stuff like law firm SEO does interest me, I don’t think it’s 100% relevant here. Maybe ill create a marketing blog in the future (I’ll be doing this – articles down for the time being). However I think some of our infographics have been great. So we will certainly be doing more of those in the future.
Now we will aim to focus on weekly legal news. Previously because so much time was going into making the site we didn’t really have time to keep up to date ourselves on recent legal developments! But now the content won’t be released as often as it was. The core site elements are in place. This means we can spend more time on this blog. So we hope to be commenting on the most recent legal developments weekly. We will either focus on the big stories or do a “News Round-up” like the one below.
Recently in the news
The Association of Graduate Recruiters reported that vacancies in law firms are likely to drop by 16.5% and 44.5 graduates applied for each trainee solicitor vacancy. We all know getting a training contract is going to be hard, but seeing the statistics like this makes very depressing reading. More LPC graduates will unfortunately be left with minimal chances of obtaining a training contract. I wonder how many LPC graduates are actually aware of the above figures? It was certainly a shock to me. Sometimes the pure desire to become a solicitor and achieve your life goals can get in the way of cold hard statistics…
Lord Neuberger presented his speech to the University of Birmingham Holdsworth club. In 2010 I had the privilege of seeing the presidential address by Lord Hope. There were similarities between the two speeches; both were about public judicial speaking with Lord Kilmuir being referenced in both.
Much of the media on the Lord Neuberger speech seemed to be a little sensationalist I thought. There were headlines using the words “slammed” and “criticised” in regards to Lord Neuberger mentioning the Lord Justice Stanley Burnton appearance on master-chef. Although Lord Neuberger didn’t seem to approve, he was referring to how Lord Kilmuir would react rather than putting forward his own opinion. I just felt the media were too keen to go with a catchy headline on the matter. You can read the full speech yourself here.
I read an interesting story from The Basingstoke Gazette about a firm using Facebook to serve legal documents. They were served this way because of difficulties tracking down the wife of a client – she moved to Spain. However she was found on Facebook and permission was granted by the local court to deliver the relevant matrimonial documents via Facebook.
This seems like a logical step to take and should be more time & cost effective for everyone involved. Obviously it should only be used in certain circumstances but I’m glad the courts are open to it. As long as Facebook don’t add a “Serve” button next to “Poke”…