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Clodagh, an incoming Birmingham Class of 2019 graduate, shares her experiences of applying directly to the Birmingham Graduate Programme

My journey to becoming a Trainee Solicitor with DLA Piper started during the summer of 2015 when I participated in the Summer Internship in the Birmingham office.

During the programme, I was fortunate enough to undertake work within the Real Estate Planning and Intellectual Property and Technology departments. I gained invaluable experience in assisting with tasks such as collating boundary information from the Land Registry for road developments and drafting letters before action for breach of copyright. However, aside from enhancing general legal skills, I was also actively encouraged to engage with colleagues across the firm in a variety of social and networking activities. Representing this global law firm in a city netball tournament was definitely an unexpected highlight!

My experience on the programme was definitely a positive one but why didn’t I succeed this time around?

At the time I was not fully appreciative of the fact that I had only recently embarked on my career. I was a first year undergraduate studying an accelerated law degree meaning that I had not yet nurtured all of the qualities necessary for life as a legal professional. I obtained constructive feedback from my supervisors and the graduate recruitment team. My initial rejection made me more determined to succeed and graft for my place on the graduate programme. Over the following years I focussed on my own personal development and skill-set. I became involved in voluntary work, fundraising opportunities and presented on career development to young students from underprivileged backgrounds.

What changed? Having sampled life at DLA Piper it became clear that this was the firm to challenge me and support my career development. The firm further provides incredible opportunities to work abroad and second to well renowned commercial clients. I re-applied for the graduate programme as an external candidate in July 2017. The assessment process was exciting yet challenging and fortunately my resilience and ambition to work for this leading global law firm was identified at interview and my personal progress since the summer internship two years earlier was recognised.

To date, I have received continuing ongoing support from DLA Piper in readiness for the start of my graduate programme in August 2019. As an incoming trainee, I have been assigned a buddy to provide guidance and support up to and during my period of training and I continue to receive exclusive opportunities to undertake legal roles with leading clients in the interim, whilst being actively encouraged to engage in a variety of social events with my peers including dragon boat racing. I now look forward to a blossoming future with the firm.

 

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