Getting started in Law

NeilHudgell'sStaffHullGW0G6335Simon Wilson, Senior Solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, talks to us about getting started in Law.

What kind of training did you have?

Following my degree (LLB Hons Law) I completed my LPC the following academic year.

When I first set out I wanted to learn about criminal law. That changed to the extent that I never practiced criminal law; I started doing clinical negligence on qualifying and it fascinated me.

My advice is no to specialise too much at university; I thought I wanted to do one area and ended up doing another. I suggest trying to get different work placements, as this will give you an insight into the practicalities of different work types, and more of a feel for the type of law you could specialise in.

How can students and graduates stand out from the crowd?

Do something different; interests such as reading or going to the cinema are ten a penny. Do some community work, get some sports coaching badges, and something that makes you interesting to someone who sees at least 20 CVs a week. Work experience really helps; it shows you’re committed.

There are many applicants for every job so you need to show a real commitment and enthusiasm for the law.

Although, when I’m interviewing candidates the main thing is their personality. Yes, I need to know people have the knowledge, but I also need to know they’ll fit in with my team.

Any work you can do on interview skills and techniques is never wasted.

Do you think there’s a type of person suited to becoming a solicitor? What key skills do they need?

You need common sense as well as intelligence; and they’re really not the same thing! In my field of clinical negligence you need analytical skills and a dogged determination to get the best outcome for your client. Litigation lawyers are usually argumentative by nature.

What’s the most important piece of advice you can give a law student/graduate?

Be certain it’s what you want to do, then be determined to get to where you want. It is hard work and you need drive to succeed; do work experience; offer to do holiday work at no cost – it shows commitment. But the main thing is never give up; you’ll get knockbacks but it’s how you recover from those that really matters.

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