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June 30th 2015

Medical Negligence

Career insight: working as a solicitor

Hayley Collinson

Hayley Collinson

Associate, Clinical Negligence

Career insight: working as a solicitor

Students and graduates trying to build a career in law can often feel overwhelmed by the competition. We asked two of our solicitors to share their experience and advice for those hoping to work in the legal sector.

Students and graduates trying to build a career in law can often feel overwhelmed by the competition. We asked two of our solicitors to share their experience and advice for those hoping to work in the legal sector.

Hayley Collinson is a solicitor from our clinical negligence team.

Q: How did you set out on the path to become a solicitor?hayley
Hayley: I decided to take law at A Level, along with history, English language, English literature and general studies. I do not believe A Level Law is a pre requisite for a law degree, but it helped me feel confident in choosing it over an English degree.
I always felt that I was more suited to becoming a solicitor, so after university I went on to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law.

Q: Are there any common misconceptions around what you do?
H: Clinical negligence lawyers can come under scrutiny in the press, especially regarding pay-outs that are made by the NHS in clinical negligence claims in both compensation and legal costs.
The term compensation culture also frustrates me: why should someone who has genuinely suffered injury and loss, be prevented from seeking compensation? When something goes wrong with medical treatment, it can often have a profound impact on the person concerned and their family

Q: Do you think certain people are more suited to becoming a solicitor?
H: I believe for clinical negligence you need to be analytical and have good people skills but I do not think there is a specific type of person suited to becoming a solicitor. I am confident there is a firm and specialism suited to every prospective solicitor who has the drive to secure a training contract.

Q: How can applicants stand out?
H: I think non-legal work experience can be important, especially at the start of your career when you want to get your first legal role. Working in retail or a restaurant demonstrates that you are hardworking and have good people skills. Do not be afraid to mention these in your application, alongside legal work experience placements.

Q: What do you think is the most important piece of advice for graduates and students?
H: Firstly I would say do not give up, it is not always easy to become a qualified solicitor given the number of graduates each year, so be prepared when you embark on your LPC that you may have to do a paralegal or assistant role before you secure a training contract. It is also not likely you will get the first contract you apply for, just keep trying.
I would also recommend that law graduates start applying for training contracts the summer before they start their final year at University because some contracts are advertised two years in advance. Work experience placements can also be a great way to secure a contract.

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