From talk to training contract: how one Kent law student networked her way to success!

Attending an on-campus talk has led directly to a training contract with a London law firm for final-year Kent Law LLB student Alexandra Lima.

Alexandra secured a contract with Darlingtons Solicitors LLP after following up on advice given by their Marketing Manager, Craig Sharpe, at a talk on the importance of branding and marketing for aspiring lawyers in March last year.

Craig spoke specifically about the value of online networking and invited attendees to connect with him on LinkedIn. Alexandra was one of only two students to follow up on Craig’s invitation. Both were subsequently invited to compete for a work experience placement at Darlingtons by writing a blog post summarising what they had learnt from his talk. Alexandra secured the placement with her winning post and also successfully applied for a University of Kent Work Experience Bursary to cover her travel expenses.

During the two-week placement in June 2017, Alexandra spent time working within the conveyancing team, as well as litigation and family matters. Putting into practice what she had learnt from Craig’s talk, she connected on LinkedIn with the legal professionals that she met and maintained contact after the placement had finished. Alexandra’s online networking skills were instrumental in landing her a further two-week placement with the firm in January 2018.

Alexandra said: ‘I worked conscientiously during my second placement and was subsequently encouraged to apply for a training contract within the firm. My application was successful and from a large number of applicants, I was selected for an interview.’

Not only was her application successful but, as Alexandra discovered earlier this month, so too was her interview – her training contract with Darlingtons will begin in September 2019, giving Alexandra time to complete a one-year Legal Practice Course (currently the final vocational stage for becoming a solicitor in England and Wales).

The talk Alexandra attended last year was organised by the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone as part of a programme of ongoing employability support for law students. Alexandra urges current and future law students to take advantage of opportunities created and promoted by Jayne: ‘Any chance to listen to or speak to a legal professional should be taken, and further contact via sites such as LinkedIn are fundamental to future prospects. A career in law requires you to be ahead of the game and actively seek any opportunity to learn more about it. Opportunities are more common than one would expect, but what is uncommon is students actually going out and taking them.’