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Q. Vicky, how did you come up with the idea for BCL Graduates?
A. We work with all manner of law firms from the small high street practice all the way to the Magic Circle law firms and whilst we usually can only assist legal graduates with at least six months’ legal work experience we wanted to try to use our contacts to get more junior graduates on the career ladder.
Q. What has been the response to your new service?
A. The clients love it. They want a hub of junior legal talent that they can dip into whenever they need to recruit. They can use the site to hire summer and Easter vacation students, interns, paralegals, trainee fee earners as well as trainee solicitors.
Q. How did you get your training contract?
A. I applied for hundreds of training contracts and had many interviews all over the country. I did a summer vacation placement with Halliwells in Manchester which I loved. They offered me a training contract but I wanted to try working in London. I trained at a boutique commercial firm in Holborn but after 12 months I called up Halliwells and asked them if they would still have me? A partner there who I am very grateful to let me transfer my training contract and I qualified there in 2000.
Q. Do you think summer vacation placements are the way forward for would-be trainees?
A. I do. It gave the firm an insight into me. They were able to use me on a case they had in Spain as I can speak Spanish. I eventually worked on that case and went to Spain with the partner to interview and translate the evidence from the witnesses. It gave me a flavour of what it is like in a law firm across various different departments. They showed me the glamorous bits of the role as well as the more mundane jobs.
Q. What’s your advice to graduates seeking that all important step on the legal career ladder?
A. Get yourself out there. Complete application forms, apply for jobs, register with bclgraduates.com and practice practice practice before an interview. There are lots of snippets to help you prepare on our website www.bcllegal.com but if you really want it, go and get it as it’s not going to land in your lap.