Kishan Parshotam graduated top of his class from our 2-year accelerated LLB last month, and is looking forward to beginning his training contract with a top magic circle firm next year. We caught up with him to find out how he approached getting that important training contract.
My interest in law was always in the background of my hobbies and studies. As a former Government and Economics student, I appreciated law from a different angle. I became more engaged in it when helping a family friend through a regulatory dispute. The opportunity to then undertake a degree in two years, but with the level of depth of a full LLB, made sense to me.
Obama, Mandela and Gandhi. Three men who changed the course of history and had one common thread: they all studied law. As someone interested in the life stories of these individuals, I felt that studying law would help me to critically understand the world we live in.
I applied for Summer Vacation Schemes at three firms and received Training Contracts with all of them. Vacation Schemes gave me a unique insight into different firms, as I had the opportunity to get stuck in to real work from the onset of each of them.
I also undertook a programme at one of the firms that offered me a Training Contract. Having gotten to know what the firm does, how it operates and its international work, I was in a stronger position to apply for the Training Contract. I didn't apply to any firm for a Training Contract without having done a Scheme with them. The Schemes really help you appreciate the subtle differences between law firms.
From day one, The University of Law encouraged me to apply for Vacation Schemes and attend their Springboard Programmes. My lecturers and course head gave me their full support throughout the process. As they’ve been solicitors themselves, they were ideally placed to advise me and help me achieve at the application and interview stages.
The hardest challenge was balancing my revision for my final exams and my Vacation Scheme. My Vacation Scheme was during the entire study leave for my final exams in that year. All of the teaching staff went the extra mile to assist me in balancing my schedule so that I could give my full attention to my Vacation Scheme but also succeed in my examinations I was often getting home at 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening, and then revising until 2:00 or 3:00 the following morning, only to be back in the office for 9:00am.
Firms today are looking for individuality. It doesn't matter what gender, race or religion you are. What matters is what defines you as a person. It’s easy to conform to a certain stereotype or act as others do. However, individuality breeds creativity, which in turn leads to unique problem solving methods.
There were some tough questions during the interviews. The hardest series of questions I received were about one of my A level grades being one grade lower than the others. I was quizzed for almost half an hour about it and it was a test of resilience and justification.
I took my time to decide which training contract to accept. Offer day was officially 1st September 2016 for most of the firms, but I already received an offer from another firm before then. I carefully deliberated and spoke to various trainees, associates and partners before making my decision. I also had access to a plethora of former solicitors in the University’s tutors, many of whom worked at large city firms. They were on hand to offer me help and support. In the end, I made a decision that was fully informed in the knowledge that I could not look back or have any regrets. It was a difficult month, but I’m happy with my decision.
My goal is to have qualified as a Solicitor within the next three years. In 10 years, I hope to have found my area of expertise in the law, and would like to be involved in some major deals that make a difference to wider society.
One person who inspired me to overcome any hurdle was my late aunt, Jay. Jay became disabled, aged 5, in Mozambique after suffering third degree burns from a lamp. However, she overcame the challenges that she faced, and brought her entire family to London after the Civil War in Mozambique. She started her own business, and was influential within her industry. Knowing what she did, with the limited resources she had, I always feel that I can improve on my previous best to succeed and be the best version of me that is possible.
I would give any law student starting out this year two pieces of advice. Firstly, enjoy the course you’re on. If you don't enjoy it, it’s probably not for you. Secondly, if you think you might want to be a solicitor, apply for schemes early on. The competition is fierce and the earlier you get involved in the process, the better your chances will be.