How I secured a vacation scheme in my second year. By Ellie Mullins

My name is Ellie Mullins. I am a second-year law student at Brunel University London. I have recently secured a vacation scheme in which I hope to turn into a training contract. My journey into law started when I was lucky to secure a job at a top Barristers’ Chambers in London straight after my last A level exam. I studied law, psychology and religious studies. I knew I liked law, but I was adamant university was not for me. I have worked since the age of 14 and have always been motivated to work in London. It was only when I was surrounded by lawyers that I realised it was the career path for me. Taking that year out before university gave me a great insight into the world of law, as well as direct contact with clients and many connections who I still keep in touch with today. My journey so far has been difficult, I achieved CCC at A level, I was constantly told I would never get into any university and would never become a lawyer. I have been told to redo my A levels numerous times. At first, I would let these comments get to me. Having people constantly tell me that my accent from Essex is too strong, people won’t take me seriously, the fact I did not get AAA or didn’t go to a Russel Group university can be very daunting. Nonetheless, I decided to keep powering through in order to achieve my goal of becoming a solicitor. I knew that I wanted this career and I would make it regardless of what people said.  It can be very easy to listen to people. If you want something, then it is up to you to get it. I have learnt over the past few years, if I don’t go out and work for something, no one will come and hand it to me. It is definitely all about keeping a positive mindset and surrounding yourself with people who motivate you! My biggest piece of advice I can give in order to stand out is to network and make contacts wherever you go. I have met lawyers standing in the queue waiting for a coffee, on the last train home on a Friday night. I am always prepared to talk to new people and network wherever I go. I was extremely lucky to work for chambers before university as I have had so much support from barristers and my colleagues. I think it is extremely important to gain an insight into the legal world before deciding for definite on the type of law you want to do. You may think you want to specialise in a type of law or work for a certain firm, but it may be very different to what you expected. Over the past 4 years, I have tried many different work placements, some high-street, some international London firms. It is very important to gain a mixture of experience as you can then talk about it in interviews. I can honestly say that when it comes to interviews and work experience, the most valuable thing about you is your experience and the journey you have been on. If you can show that you attend networking events and do put yourself out there, it won’t go unnoticed. In my first year, I was attending networking events weekly, I have lost count! I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to attend insight days; you will gain a feel for the firm and you will know whether it is right for you or not. If it isn’t, that is perfectly fine. The only way you will find out which firm you are best suited to is if you attend open days and meet people from the firm. Network whenever you get a chance you never know who you will meet and what it can potentially lead too! I am very excited to complete the vacation scheme and hopefully turn it into a training contract. I couldn’t have done it without Aspiring Solicitors. If anyone has any questions about signing up to Aspiring Solicitors or needs a point in the right direction, I am more than happy to help! Ellie Mullins, Essex, England

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