by Fatmata Tarawalley, LLB Law Student (Final Year)
Aspiring Solicitors is the UK’s leading Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) platform within law. It provides coaching, mentoring and other opportunities for hundreds of diverse candidates each year to help them gain vacation schemes and training contracts.
I was selected to be an Aspiring Solicitors Campus Ambassador at Coventry University. This great opportunity has given me the chance to introduce opportunities such as mentoring schemes, scholarships and interactive workshops to students that are less represented in the legal profession. Through this programme, I hope to equip underrepresented students with the knowledge and skills necessary to gain legal work experience and training contracts with their dream law firms.
As an Aspiring Solicitor representative, my job is to generate brand awareness and organise student events. The aim is to ensure students get proper guidance and support to help them succeed in securing their future law careers.
I collaborated with other AS representatives from Aston, Nottingham Trent and Sheffield Hallam University to organise a joint-AS event on the evening on 12th November 2020. The workshop was an interactive, audience-led workshop that provided practical advice, guidance and support for students starting their application process. We explored what it takes to succeed in securing a vacation schemes and training contracts this year.
The advice that was given by, former training contract holder, Dilraj Ahmed centred around the student’s questions about how to present themselves as the ideal candidate and capitalising on their unique strengths and experience. We spoke about how to use the skills that we have obtained from our law degree and legal work experience to link it the firm that we were applying to. Also, we discussed the relevance of skills that we have gained from our part-time work, volunteering, or extra-curricular activities.
Importantly, we talked about the importance of commercial awareness to law firms – something that a lot of law students seem to be lacking. The best way to improve your commercial awareness is by researching how law firms conduct their business. Read business topics that really interest you and try to relate that issue to the firm that you’re applying to. I personally listen to The Economist podcasts, Wake Up to Money and the Financial Times podcast. I also watch BBC’s Dragon’s Den and read basic business books to enhance my business knowledge.
Some students asked about whether firms will accept them in circumstances where they do not meet the A-Levels requirement or because they do not attend Russell Group University. They also asked about bias based upon their sexuality or disability. The legal profession is taking steps to make their profession more inclusive. Some firms have eliminated their A level requirements and use contextualised “rare recruitment” and ask for consistent 2:1 performance at university instead. Also, as someone that is diagnosed with Dyslexia, I believe that people with disabilities are wrongly underrepresented as solicitors; they can offer a great deal to legal clients.
For further information about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Coventry University, click here.