Taking the less direct route – alternate paths to becoming a Trainee Solicitor

We spoke to some aspiring solicitors at the firm about their path to becoming a Trainee Solicitor. Whether they have undertaken other legal roles before embarking on their Training Contract or come to law as a second career we hear their perspectives and understand why the less direct route was the right route for them.

We look for a wide variety of skills and backgrounds in our Trainees so don't think that joining us directly from university is the only path!

If you want to hear more sign up here for our upcoming Insights Session: Tips for Non-Law Students and Career Changers.

Lauren Hickey, Trainee Solicitor

“After university, I worked in PR for several years before embarking on a career change. I completed both the GDL and LPC part-time while working full-time; during this period, I joined Foot Anstey as part of the Business Services team. After 6 months, a paralegal role opened up within the Corporate team, which I successfully applied for. My focus was assisting on Private Equity-backed transactions; I was given high quality work and direct exposure to key firm clients, which created a fantastic foundation to build upon as a Trainee Solicitor. I once read that your career needn’t be a ‘relentlessly upward trajectory’; perhaps for obvious reasons, this has always stuck with me. Having followed a non-linear path has benefited me as a Trainee; many of the most valuable skills for a solicitor can be developed in non-legal roles.”

Colin Shear, Trainee Solicitor

“I am a career changer – I originally did undergraduate degrees in engineering and physics and worked in a small business as a manager for 8 years before moving to the UK and pursuing the career change to law. The skills I developed in my previous career have been appreciated by my teams and allowed me to contribute more actively to conversations. My supervisors always encourage me to share my views and draw on my previous experience. They have also been accepting of my alternative route to the career and supported me with the career change transition.”

Lucie Wickens, Trainee Solicitor

“After graduating from my law degree, I worked as a corporate legal assistant for a year before undertaking the LPC. During this time, I secured my Training Contract at Foot Anstey and they offered me the opportunity to work as a paralegal in the Energy Team prior to commencing my Training Contract with the firm. I supported the team on commercial and property aspects of renewable energy projects. This not only gave me a great insight into commercial and property law, but also what it would be like to work as a Trainee in the firm.”

Alastair Nuttall, Trainee Solicitor

“I joined Foot Anstey after a career in a large London university where I managed the Vice-Chancellor’s office. I did lots of different things in my old role including helping the Vice-Chancellor to prepare for meetings and international trips, management of various boards and committees, project management, organising events, and communications work such as writing speeches and articles.

I wondered when I embarked on my career change to what extent my skills and experiences would be transferable to the legal sector. A year or so in, I would say skills developed in a corporate or office environment are very transferable and helped me hit the ground running in my Training Contract. For example, prioritising and managing a varied workload, liaising with colleagues, working in teams, networking, and managing projects.”

Alex Goodman, Paralegal, Planning and Environment Team

“My paralegal role is giving me first-hand experience of what it is like to work in a law firm. I am developing my knowledge and understanding of the law in practice, getting insight into what it takes to be a good solicitor, and getting a better idea of what I enjoy and where my career might take me.

Ultimately, my aim is to secure a Training Contract and become a qualified solicitor. I am keeping an open mind on which area of law I would like to qualify into. However, I am enjoying my role working in environmental law so far. It is a rapidly evolving and vitally important area which will produce a lot of challenges for clients in the future. So, a practice area with an environmental focus to it is something I am particularly interested in.”