How I got Into Law

By School House

7 years ago

Rachel Davis, qualified solicitor and managing director at The Lawyer Portal, on her route into law

Law Getty Images

I would love to say as a grand opener to this article that it has always been my life-long ambition to become a lawyer. That at the tender age of six I had an epiphany, realising that law was the only path for me. Well, if truth be told, I cannot wholeheartedly declare either of these things. In fact, to do so would be positively fraudulent.

The fact of the matter is, that even when I was studying for my A-levels the thought of heading off to university to study law had not even crossed my mind.

Perhaps it was because my father was a lawyer that I was subconsciously intent on carving out my own path. Perhaps it was because I had a passion for the French language, which is what I had actually applied to study at Leeds University, along with Business Management.

Well, all I can say is that everything changed on a balmy day in late June after I completed my A-Levels and agonisingly awaited the results of my A-levels. It was on that fateful day that a letter dropped on our doormat, addressed to me. It sounds dramatic to say, but it was that letter that completely changed the course of my life and I can honestly say I have never looked back.

Sorry, I should elaborate. The letter was in fact a ‘Jury Notice’ – yes, I had been randomly selected from the Electorial Register to complete jury service at Chester Crown Court. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Apart from holding down a part-time weekend job as an ‘ambient replenishing floor assistant’ (shelf stacker) at my local supermarket, I was a free agent and positively welcomed any form of distraction from the impending release of the A-Level results.

I briskly and enthusiastically replied to the notice and a few weeks later found myself driving over to Chester in my mum’s red Volkswagen Polo to begin my stint in court. As I pulled up in the court car park I looked up in awe at this magnificent and imposing sandy brick building in which I would be based for the next two weeks or so.

On day one, I was chosen to sit on the jury of a grievous bodily harm case and although relatively harrowing I found the whole process fascinating. Watching the barristers skilfully advocate the case of their client and seeing how they addressed both the judge and the jury with intellect and eloquence was nothing short of inspiring and it quickly got me thinking… maybe this was a career for me. I have always been driven by challenge, in any form and I have always enjoyed a good debate and it was clear in the very early stages of my observations as a juror that a career in law could offer both these things.

Although it would be naive and erroneous to say that I based my entire decision to approach Leeds University to change my degree to law on two weeks in court, it was certainly a catalyst. Following my jury service experience, what followed was some extensive research into both the study and practice of law and following much deliberation I made the bold decision to change my degree if I made the grades, which I subsequently did.

Following a year out, I commenced a law degree at Leeds. From very early on, I enjoyed the challenges associated with the study of law, the discipline that it involved and the freedom that it gave me to think both logically yet creatively about legal and other issues. By the time I reached my second year I knew I wanted to start gaining legal work experience and apply for training contracts to become a solicitor. Which I duly did, completing a number of vacation placements which eventually lead to me securing a training contract at Dentons, a large, international firm based in central London. From that point, I have never really looked back. I practised at Dentons in the Energy and Infrastructure Department working on high profile construction deals and intricate environmental matters, following which I lectured on the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School before joining The Lawyer Portal.

The core aim of The Lawyer Portal is to provide comprehensive information to individuals who are considering either the study or practice of law which subsequently allows them to make informed and considered decisions. Law is a challenging and competitive profession and it is important to think about the pros and cons extremely carefully before embarking on this career path. With the help of The Lawyer Portal individuals can be confident that the decision they make is the right one for them.

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