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We Support Your Ambition: An interview with Christiane Sungu

Alumna Christiane Sungu studied the LPC and LLM with us and graduated in 2020. Since then, she’s gone on to become a trainee solicitor at Accutrainee. We caught up with her to discuss the move from education to the workplace and her dreams for the future.

I wanted to study law because, at 16 years old, I started to have an interest in the rules that governed my day to day life. I decided to pick law as one of my A-Levels to understand what the law was, how it was made, what it was good for and why it didn’t always work.

My A-Level gave me a solid grounding in law. I finished the course pretty confident in understanding my rights and responsibilities as an individual living in the UK and exactly how the judicial system worked. I enjoyed my course so much that I decided to do my undergraduate degree in law and, a few years later, my postgraduate in law too.

Can I say open-book exams helped me to choose law? In all seriousness, I liked that the course was taught to reflect the practical nature of the work. All our workshops were based around real scenarios that could happen in practice, and having open-book exams, equally reflected the way lawyers would deal with their work in reality.

I’m currently a trainee solicitor at Accutrainee and have been seconded to CMS McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP. I haven’t chosen an area of law to specialise in yet. I’m still very early on in my training contract, so I’m making the most of getting experience in different areas.

I wasn’t nervous about moving from education to the workplace as I’ve always worked while studying. My biggest scare was realising that I was completely finished with education and that part of my life was over.

Having done a year’s worth of legal work experience as part of my 4-year undergraduate course and working as a paralegal between my LLB and LPC, I felt pretty prepared for going back into the workplace as a trainee solicitor.

I work from home and my typical day involves getting up and checking my emails to see if anything’s come in overnight or first thing. I then have a daily video call with my team where we check in with one another and then I begin actioning said things from my inbox. I’ll take a break for lunch, and in the afternoon, I usually have more work to do that’s come in throughout the morning. It usually involves processing something to move a transaction along or jumping on a client call to discuss next steps. I also try to fit in a virtual coffee break with a fellow trainee or another colleague. I’ll finish off more work or training in the afternoon, complete all of my admin and time-recording, then log off for the day.

Being able to explain myself clearly and accurately is probably one of the most useful skills that I learned at ULaw. I feel very confident in tailoring my communication to others in accordance with their needs.

My advice to students considering a course at ULaw would be to always stay on top of things. The courses are full-on and being disorganised can become a slippery slope to not doing well. It’s really important to keep on top of your weekly preparation and consolidation tasks as there are limited chances to catch up across the academic year.

I’m still really early on in my career journey but I would say getting my training contract was by far the greatest challenge I have faced so far.

In five years’ time, I hope to be three years into my post-qualified experience in an area of law that feels perfect for me. I’m making the most of my training contract by learning the ropes in everything to understand what that area of law will be.

 

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