Joel Blake joined ULaw in 2014 to study the LLB and stayed on to complete the LPC at our Birmingham campus. Since then, he’s gone on to become a trainee solicitor at The Wilkes Partnership. We caught up with Joel to discuss his time at ULaw and how it has helped him take the next step towards his dream career.
I chose to study at The University of Law because I wanted to undertake a practical law degree to gain the skills I would need in practice as my ambition was to become a successful and effective solicitor.
The career consultants at the ULaw Employability Service really supported me. They went through my CV and all my application forms until they were ready to be sent off .They also gave me mock interviews so I would be ready for different types of interview questions. Without the support of the Employability Service I don’t think I would have obtained a training contract.
I became a member of the ULaw football team during my first year. I found being on the team really useful as I got know students who were further into their career journey than me and they often helped to point me in the right direction in regards to applications and work experience placements. I am an avid football fan so being a key member of the club was very important to me. I gained a number of leadership skills in this role as I was a key member, making decisions and organising the sessions.
My time at ULaw has made me more confident and more willing to come out of my comfort zone. This is because we had many opportunities to work on public speaking and networking.
My advice to future ULaw students is:
- Make the most of the employability service
- Attend careers talks
- Seek support from tutors
- Have fun
During the summer of 2017, I completed three vacation schemes at regional law firms. They were incredibly useful as they gave me an insight into my future life as a trainee.
I am currently a trainee solicitor at The Wilkes Partnership. I found the role via lawcareers.net during the final year of my degree and it appealed to me because I always wanted to become a solicitor and The Wilkes Partnership is a well-respected firm within Birmingham. The main challenge in this role is keeping on top of everything. I manage this by making sure I am very organised and compiling daily to do lists.
My ambition at the beginning of my degree was to obtain a training contract. So, I achieved my initial ambition and now I am focussed on qualifying as a solicitor.
A normal day for me starts with compiling an initial to-do-list’for the day. Then I’ll check my emails for any overnight developments that may have come through on cases I’m already working on. I’ll draft the relevant documents and, if needed, make a couple of applications to the Land Registry. If my supervisor has asked me to do any research, I’ll draft the relevant documents required and get them checked.
Sometimes my supervisor will ask me to consider emails from a client and iron out queries. This could mean I have to obtain certain documents and report back with my findings. I might also have to research discrepancies between various plans.
Before I finish up for the day I complete a number of administrative tasks. These include logging how I have spent my time throughout the day, asking other fee earners if they require any assistance, tidying my desk and updating my training contract record.
It is hard to pinpoint the best experience in my role so far but I have enjoyed being thrown into the deep end and learning things quickly. The best part is how much I enjoy the client contact and having a high-level of responsibility.
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