Too often we get asked: what do you want to do next? It is perfectly acceptable to not know the answer to the question but take every opportunity you are given. Here, Kamil describes how he ended up with a training contract at Shoosmiths.
My journey began in sixth form, where I took on a full-time, semi-professional football scholarship alongside an International Baccalaureate Diploma. After a very difficult decision, I decided that to give myself the best chance at a career in either the sports or academic field, this seemed like the only option.
After a challenging sixth-form experience due to studying and playing football constantly, I ended up with Russell Group university offers and full scholarship offers from US based universities. The dilemma which I thought I solved temporarily, was back again. My personal circumstances decided for me that I was not able to play football anymore and thus, I would attempt to seek some sort of professional career. At this point, I was glad I kept both doors open: the ability to have an academic and sports career.
Whilst at sixth form, I completed a weeks’ worth of work experience at a high street law firm. Based on this and general university research, I discovered that law was a very broad degree and allowed entry into many careers. Therefore, again I chose to ‘keep doors open’ and chose a degree that would further this goal, still not knowing whether a legal career was for me.
In my first year of university I attended numerous insight days, including US based law firms, London firms, national firms and some regional firms. One of these included the Shoosmiths open day at the Solent office, where I was first introduced to the office I now work in! These experiences gave me a real taste of the legal world, and importantly highlighted to me how each firm differed.
In my second year of university, I started applying for vacation schemes with not much success due to a lack of legal work experience and legal connections whom I could seek advice from. However, in that year, I managed to secure legal work experience in-house at a London Fund. After a rigorous interview process, I was offered a summer internship, which gave me the fundamental base to my applications. Work experience.
As a result, my vacation scheme applications in the third year of university started to become vastly more successful compared to my previous year applications, securing several vacation schemes and assessment days. In relation to my route to a training contract at Shoosmiths, I failed to secure the vacation scheme, but I was invited to an assessment centre. One of the main things that stood out to me at this assessment centre was the friendly and approachable partners at the firm who were interviewing me. Compared to other firms I interviewed at, or even attended vacation schemes at, I was a lot more relaxed in the interview which allowed me to portray my best self and that was largely due to the down-to-earth partners who challenged me but made me feel comfortable. After this experience, I was delighted to have been offered a training contract at Shoosmiths because I believe that is the best fit for me.
I want to stress that when growing up I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. I navigated my way through the opportunities I was given, always working as hard as I could with passion and along this journey, failure is an essential part of the process. Therefore, if you feel like you are in the same boat, work hard and take every opportunity you are given. For me, the opportunity is at Shoosmiths.
You may also be interested to read Rory’s blog where he talks about his journey into law.
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