November 27 2020
How Flex Legal helped George secure a Training Contract at Addleshaw Goddard
George Devine is a Construction Paralegal with Addleshaw Goddard LLP, who recently secured his training contract. In this blog post, George shares his experiences working through Flex Legal, and reflects on the journey that led him to securing his training contact with a recognised and reputable law firm.
1) Could you tell us a bit about your background and education?I grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, and I was never quite sure which profession I would end up in. I undertook work experience at a boutique law firm as well as an architectural firm. During my legal work experience, I was advised to study any subject that I was interested in and to later convert my degree with a GDL.
Whilst studying History, Psychology and English language at A level, and much to my mum's surprise, I applied to read Architecture. I earned a place at Manchester School of Architecture and graduated after three years with a 2:1.
During the summer breaks in between my undergraduate terms, I needed a job and ended up working at another boutique law firm. After I graduated, I remained irresolute as to whether I should work in law, though I was now certain that I did not want to become an architect.
Instead, I moved back to Newcastle to open and run a speciality coffee shop. On one particular day, mid-way through a flat white, I decided to apply for the GDL. It was during my time on the GDL course that I became sure that I wanted to become a solicitor.
2) What attracted you to Flex Legal?Having moved back to Manchester for the GDL, I returned to the firm I had worked with over my summers as a student and joined the team full-time. At a certain point, with a view to gaining experience of fresh areas of law, I started looking for new opportunities in larger corporate firms.
Serendipitously, I caught up with a former course mate from the GDL who had recently been placed at a large US firm through Flex (he has recently been offered a training contract at that firm). He put me in contact with Flex, and I sent over my CV shortly after.
3) Could you tell us a bit more about your paralegal placement(s) through Flex Legal?Within a few days of my email, I was invited for an interview. Half an hour or so later, whilst I was frantically looking for last minute Christmas gifts, Flex called me and told me that Addleshaw Goddard (AG) wanted me to start as soon as possible to assist with a large disclosure exercise in the Manchester office.
I worked within AG as a temp for nearly three months, working in the real estate and litigation teams on ad hoc tasks. This was a positive experience from the off, as those I met within AG's TST paralegal team were very welcoming and I was given a good deal of responsibility and support.
A few weeks into my placement, I decided to apply for a full time position and asked my manager at the time whether any roles were available. As luck would have it, there were. I interviewed for a role as an embedded paralegal, and I joined the Construction team nearly three months after my placement started.
After earning my stripes as an AG paralegal, the opportunity arose to apply internally for a training contract. I jumped at the chance and, after a slightly nerve-wracking application process, I was successful.
I am currently studying the LPC whilst I work part-time and, all things permitting, I am due to start my training contract in September 2021.
4) Would you recommend Flex Legal to others seeking paralegal positions?I had not been aware of Flex until my course mate told me of his experience, and his recommendation could not have come at a more fortunate time for me. I would recommend Flex to anyone trying to gain experience as a paralegal, or looking to broaden their existing experience.
Without talking down my own efforts, Flex gave me the unique opportunity to get my foot in the door at AG that ultimately led to me being offered a training contract.
5) What advice would you give to other paralegals starting interim placements?My advice, in so far as I am qualified to offer it, would be to seize upon an opportunity as it arises. If a placement is available that suits you and your circumstances, go for it with great gusto. If you are trying to secure a full time role, or a training contract, then you have an opportunity to make an impression that you would not have as an external candidate. You will have your ear closer to the ground too, so listen out for mumblings about recruitment and job openings.
If you are looking specifically for short term work, my advice remains the same as the more you put into an opportunity, the more you are likely to take from it. The industry is, from my experience, smaller than it seems and so it is important to leave a good impression wherever you tread.
Also, ask about the dress code. It turns out you can be overdressed for your first day on the job.
6) How does it feel to have secured your training contract?Training contracts are a daunting prospect. During the GDL, I was near-paralysed by the thought of rattling off endless applications, each one demanding hours of consideration, only to receive a flurry of rejections.
I decided I needed to get more practical experience, and gain a better understanding of the industry. My plan, as I often remind my mum, was to get a job in a firm like AG, make a positive impression, and apply for a training contract as an internal candidate. Unlike most of my plans, it worked out! I am proud of what I have achieved, and I am very much looking forward to starting my first seat.
- How Flex Legal helped Jamie secure a Training Contract. Another blog post in this series. Flex Legal’s very own Jamie Roberts shares his experiences working through Flex Legal, and landing a subsequent training contract with Osborne Clarke.
- The Flex Legal guide to Training Contract success. This post features 3 of the Flex Legal bookings team sharing some key insights on how to secure your Training Contract.
- ‘How to secure a training contract at a top law firm’ by Legal Cheek. Our talented friends over at Legal Cheek put together a comprehensive list of tips on training contract applications.