Need help deciding which area of law to pursue, but don’t know where to start? Applications are now open for the Law School Professional Mentoring Scheme, offering LLB and MA law students going in to their second year, the chance to be matched with a legal professional in a wide variety of practice areas. The scheme aims to allow you to gain deeper insights into working in commercial law, and build on your network for the future. Professional mentor for the 2021-22 scheme, Sam Cripps has outlined what he likes about supporting students and what you can gain from joining the scheme. See our Professional Mentoring Scheme webpage for more details on how to apply.
What is your background in law and how did you get to where you are today?
I have had a reasonably linear (boring!) route to law. I completed my LLB in 2015, and applied for a training contract. In the summer of 2015, I attended two vacation schemes, in addition to applying directly for Burges Salmon (where I work now). I was fortunate enough to receive an offer from each of the three firms, but chose Burges Salmon due to the culture, size and mix of work.
“While I had a successful ending to my training contract journey, I also suffered through many rejections, no-replies, and anxious nights! Everyone’s journey is different, but in my experience, everyone always achieves the same end destination.”
You get better, and more selective as you go through the process, so don’t give up! I completed my training contract between 2017-19, and chose to qualify into Projects. The Burges Salmon Projects team routinely works on large scale asset/infrastructure projects and this appealed to me. I was fascinated about working at the cutting edge of renewable energy, or the roll-out of the latest medical technology, and Projects was the right fit.
Why did you decide to become a mentor on the Professional Mentoring Scheme?
Studying law at university, or considering converting at postgraduate level, is very different to the life as a lawyer. Therefore, as a student I remember not really understanding what my application should look like, or even what the job entails. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have legal contacts in their family/friends, and therefore the mentoring scheme allows lawyers to connect with students to help give them that insight. I became a mentor to play a small role in helping students on the next step of their career path.
What was the highlight of your time being a mentor and why do you think students should apply for the scheme?
My mentee was incredibly organised and driven, so my role was very easy. But I enjoyed the progress we made from setting objectives for the year (in this case, it was to progress with TC applications), to seeing them in the canteen at work on their first vacation scheme. My mentee did all the hard work, but I was there to bounce questions off, and chat through any areas they were unsure of.
“ If you are interested in a career in law, the scheme offers you access to lawyers from a variety of firms. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the variety of choice when you begin to apply, so being matched with someone who has been through the process helps.”
If you get partnered with me, there will also be free coffee…
Applications are invited from LLB and MA students going in to their second year in 2022-23 academic year. See our Professional Mentoring Scheme webpage for more details on how to apply. The deadline for submissions is Friday 5 August at 5pm.