Careers With a Law Degree – Ahou Hamedani

Author Ahou

We are almost more than halfway through the academic year and if you are in your first year of studies you might be having second thoughts. Some are now reassured that law is their forte and some may be beginning to doubt if they have chosen the right course of study. If your case is the latter of the two there is no need to panic.

If studying law has been a dreadful experience for you until now and it has disappointed you, it is not late to think about what other programs you would enjoy more and apply to switch. However, if you enjoy studying law but what you have learned about being a lawyer scares you or doesn’t impress you then you would benefit from reading this post.

On the 11th February once again the Career and Skills Development Service at City University held a helpful and successful event called Careers with Law Degree. A self-explanatory title, the evening showcased successful individuals with law degrees that had either chosen the path of becoming a lawyer or used their law degree in a different direction. If you missed the event below is an overview of each individual and the career path that they chose:

1. Ed Hall: Senior Lawyer – Crown Prosecution Service:

Career Path:
• B.A in English Literature
• Joined the CPS as an administrator and became interested in law
• Completed GDL & BPTC at City Law School
• Returned to CPS with a law degree
• Started as a Trainee Crown Prosecutor and went to become a Senior Crown Prosecutor
• In 2004 decided to specialise
• Continues to work in the special casework unit

Example of previous/current work:
• Football riots
• Prosecuting individuals involved in 2010 student riots
• People trafficking
• Armed robberies
• Forged passports

A typical week on the job:
• Preparing papers
• Meetings with police officers
• Attending court
• Discussing possible legal issues with police inspectors

What he enjoys about his job:
• Variety
• Finding out about different professions
• Dealing with different types of crime

Tips:
• Specialise! – if you don’t, “you can never learn how to deal with a case in depth”
• Find something that you are good at and can excel in.

The event speakers


2. Claire Spearpoint – Solicitor at Leigh Day

Career Path:
• LLB from University of Kent
• Took 2 years off to travel upon graduation (recommends this!)
• Completed the LPC at the College of Law
• Sent out loads of job applications, was contacted by Leigh Day and got offered a job for the next year
• In the year leading to her job did paralegal work
• Leigh Day focuses on Personal Injury and she specialises industrial diseases

Example of previous/current work:
• Dealing with several cases regarding Asbestos
• Gets claimants the compensation they deserve in cases dealing with personal injury

A typical week on the job:
• Client visits
• Witness statements
• Office work
• Looking for evidence
• Investigations and detective work
• Medical investigations
• Liaising with people in other professions
• Drafting letters and documents

What she enjoys about her job:
• Talking to people
• Very sad area of work but makes outcome more rewarding
• Detective work

Tips:
• Keep updated in legal news (read the Law Gazette)
• Try to get as much work experience as you possibly can
• Be persistent

3. Joanna Anaful- Campus Relationship Manager /AVP/ graduate marketing, recruitment & development / Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Career Path:
• LLB from University of Southampton
• During her studies she realised she did not want to be a lawyer but decided to finish her law degree
• Took a year off after school during which she worked two temp jobs
• Decided to complete a Masters in Public International Law (LLM) at City University
• After some rejections, followed a friend’s suggestion and looked for work in the human resources sector
• Was denied human resources jobs due to lack of job specific experience, so decided to look into HR work in law firms
• Got hired by an American company upon posting her resume online
• Went on to a temporary job at Hogan Lovells
• Moved on to work at Barclays
• Went on to work at Citigroup where she is still occupied

Example of previous/current work:
• Building relationships with universities
• Lots of time travelling to speak with the universities and students

A typical week on the job:
• Very predictable except in times of political and economic difficulty
• Dealing with universities
• Working around obstacles (especially those of a financial matter)
• Hiring new employees
• Drafting
• Lots of analysing and problem solving

What she enjoys about her job:
• Very international, dynamic, strategic
• Wide variety of issues to deal with
• Communicating with others (feels that she owes her communication skills to her law degree and mooting)

Tips:
• Find an environment where you can thrive

4. Hayyan Bhabha – Parliamentary Assistant and researcher to Nick Boles MP, Minister of planning

Career Path:
• LLB from Birmingham City University
• BPTC at City University
• Was unable to get a job upon graduation but did internships and worked as a paralegal for a year
• Due to his having a part time in finding a job, was motivated to write to his local MP asking what the government could do for young people in his position could do
• Was contacted and hired by Nick Boles MP
• Has been working at the House of Commons for 22 months now

Example of previous/current work:
• Sits in high profile briefings to summarise them for his boss, and has the opportunity to meet various ministers
• Has met the Prime Minister
• Gets to mingle with political leaders

A typical week on the job:
• Lots of office work
• Lots of meetings with his boss to reflect on work done and discuss future work
• Responding to constituents
• Research (speech prep, ahead of briefs)

What he enjoys about his job:
• The people that he gets to meet

Tips:
• Write to your MP (stand out)
• Check for vacancies on www.w4mp.org

5. Alexander Constantine – Project Management Consultant

Career Path:
• BA in Law
• Worked at a part time job upon graduation (being able to speak German was a big reason for being offered the job)
• Went on to do his Masters in Economic Regulation and Competition at City
• Worked briefly at Network Rail
• Began his work for Pcubed in June 2012

Example of previous/current work:
• Statoil Fuel and Retail in Scandinavia
• John Lewis Partnership
• Crossrail

Lots of travel!

Lots of travel!


A typical week on the job:
• Long work hours
• Constant travelling
• Countless meetings
• Facilitating
• Client meetings
• Getting stuff done and delivering

What he enjoys about his job:
• Lots of travelling
• Very versatile
• Good pay for hard work

Tips:
• You need to work long hours for success in this job
• Remember that clients expect performance for money
• Learn how to impress people, even with the simplest of tasks such as chairing a meeting, you would be surprised how many people fail at this
• Learn how to properly use Microsoft Excel, many think they know how to but are clueless when they have to do something new
• Personal development is important- plan what you want to achieve and how

To sum up, there are common themes in all the above success stories that we can learn from.

The job search upon graduation is definitely going to be hard and at times discouraging, and that we need lots of work experience. The question that popped into my head was how would I gain this “experience” if I can never find a job? The answer I got from all these individuals was to do as much free work, and as many internships as you can. Yes working for free might not have been what you had in mind when you decided to obtain a university degree, but in the long run it will be well worth it. Apply for summer internships, do pro-bono work, or even look for volunteer opportunities in other fields that might do you good in the long run. If you’ve always been interested in Medical Law, why not volunteer at a hospital? Get to see what happens on the other side. You should never give up.

The work experience will make the job search easier and perhaps open your eyes and help you discover new fields and occupations that you might become interested in.

We can learn from all these individuals that a degree in law will certainly not hurt you in anyway. Law has been considered a prestigious degree for years and can open the door to many occupations and even help you in your everyday life. What we have to keep in mind is that we are still young, we are attending one of the best Law schools in the country and that the world is our oyster, and well a law degree can be your oyster card, you just have to decide which bus to get on and where you want to go.

Thanks to Ahou for this great review of the Careers in Law event at the City Law School. Ahou is in the first year of her LLB. 

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