I studied History at university because it had always been an interest of mine. I liked that the degree covered a broad range of different topics, and I enjoyed researching and constructing arguments in my essays. While at university I joined the debate society, and this is when I started to seriously consider contentious law as a career option.

Herbert Smith Freehills stood out to me as it is one of the best litigation firms in the world. Then when I attended a law fair and had the opportunity to talk to Trainees and Associates about their work, I was struck by their enthusiasm and how interesting their cases sounded. I went on to complete a vacation scheme, and found fairly early on that I could envision myself being happy working at the firm permanently.

I joined the firm in September 2019 and am currently a few weeks into my first seat in Disputes. The cases are even bigger and more interesting than I imagined, and the friendliness of the team has made me feel immediately welcome and supported.

My future focus

BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

I​ want to work with the Graduate Recruitment team and the Ability Network to explore new ways to connect with students with disabilities and learning difficulties. I want to encourage students across the UK to attend firm events, and boost their confidence by highlighting HSF’s support and mentoring.

My difference

It is easy for me to imagine a world where I did not manage to become a trainee solicitor. I’m from a non-law background, I’m one of the first members of my family to go to university, I have a Northern accent and an upper-limb deficiency. On top of that, I was state-school educated and achieved not-quite-perfect A Levels. And before university, I had never even met a solicitor. I had no idea if people like me could get training contracts in firms like Herbert Smith Freehills.

However, I spent my university years attempting to enhance my CV. I put myself forward for debating and essay writing competitions and I took evening classes on commercially relevant topics like the stock market and business in China. I even struggled my way through an intensive rock-climbing course (which is fairly challenging with only one hand!).

At the same time as building up my CV, I proactively developed a legal network. I went to as many open days and law workshops as I could, and even spent one Christmas holiday writing to every law firm in my hometown, asking for work experience. I also took advantage of my university’s alumni mentoring scheme which paired me with an Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills. My mentor became instrumental in helping me choose to apply to the firm, as I was interested in the work he was involved in.

Fortunately, my application was successful and after completing a winter vacation scheme, I was offered a training contract. Shortly after, I started writing a blog about my application experiences, with the hope of offering some tips, tricks and encouragement to other students from similar non-law backgrounds to me. This created the opportunity for me to help run confidence-building and application-focussed workshops for students at different universities.

My hope is that when I join the firm I can help the Graduate Recruitment team to run events that attract students from a wide range of backgrounds. It’d be brilliant to help applicants from underrepresented groups feel more confident during the recruitment process. I think it’s easy to feel intimidated when you don’t quite fit the mould, but Herbert Smith Freehills welcomes applications from students from all walks of life. And the diversity of the firm is one of the things that makes it such an appealing place to work.

Other Ambassadors

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Jess Rosethorn
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