I had the pleasure of attending the BLD induction day event held at the Baker McKenzie office in London on 31st January 2018. The experience was valuable, powerful and vastly encouraging, for a candidate lost in the legal world desperately trying to secure a training contract or at the very least a vacation scheme.
Influential legal organisations such as Baker McKenzie, DAC Beachcroft and Pinsent Masons were present, to name a few; all of which provided helpful advice and information on the key necessities required to achieve success within the legal field. They provided presentations on the fundamental aspects relating to the legal world such as networking, commercial awareness and mentoring. This practical advice was immensely useful to developing an understanding of the next steps that I needed to take in order to secure a training contract.
By the end of the day I had felt motivated and inspired by the stories of the guest speakers and their ability to work through the ranks and make their way to obtaining their training contracts, partner status, pupillage and associate levels through sheer determination and hard work. I experienced a strong desire to succeed and tell my own story to prospective candidates in the future.
Plus, all the negativity surrounding thriving in the legal profession that I had come across beforehand, had disappeared, attending this event really made me believe that indeed there are opportunities out there for candidates like me, you just need to know how to grab them.
Supported by an array of amazing sponsor organisations and with opportunities to undertake work experience guaranteed, the team leading the Legal Launch Pad programme have gone above and beyond to equip all candidates with the means to unleash our full potential. Not only does the programme assign each candidate a mentor, it provided a session delivered by Nicola Northway, a Partner at Baker McKenzie, explaining how to make the most of the mentoring scheme - illustrated through a number of inspirational success stories.
Dynamic presentations were given by Kate Doyle, Senior Graduate Recruitment Officer at Baker McKenzie, Raz Ahmed, Trainee Solicitor at Pinsent Masons and Aditi Misra from The University of Law - covering topics including networking successfully, impressing in interviews and writing winning applications. Learning how to effectively read the Financial Times in an interactive session led by Tyler Dearson, Vice President at Barclays was also invaluable. Both Sunny Mann, Partner at Baker McKenzie and Hashi Mohamed, Barrister at No5 Chambers, shared their wisdom and captivated the room with words of encouragement. During a ‘Q&A’ session with a diverse panel of experienced lawyers, themes of self-development, resilience and perseverance surrounded the discussion.
Among a number of key learnings, I left the event ready to become ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’ and the rigorous application process completed in order to secure a place on the scheme was a way of already preparing us for future challenges. Following the closing speech, BLD Founder Debo Nwauzu’s infectious positivity instilled me with the confidence to tackle the year ahead.
When I was invited to the BLD LLP Induction Day, I was excited. I was eager to meet the fellow participants and learn more about the programme, but I never expected it to be what it was – an amazing event which provided me with unparalleled insight into the various facets of the legal profession, in just one day.
The day began with opening presentations by representatives of the BLD Foundation about what we could expect from the programme and how to make the most of it. Thereafter the day was filled with a variety of inspirational talks, initially by Baker McKenzie partner, Sunny Mann and Hashi Mohamed of No 5 Chambers. There was something very relatable about them both, and although I am an aspiring solicitor, Hashi Mohamed's presentation pushed me more towards self-development than anything else. Aditi Misra, a Careers Consultant, at the University of Law was also present on the day to share some useful tips on networking, business skills and really emphasise what law firms and recruiters are looking for in us as candidates.
This was followed by an interactive commercial awareness training session and a presentation by Razzaq Ahmed (a trainee at Pinsent Masons) on how to not only nail an interview, but also enjoy an interview. I'd never considered an interview to be something one could enjoy until this day, but since then I have adopted a different outlook, and this has ultimately boosted my confidence.
We all know how challenging it can be to read the Financial Times - most people just tend to find an alternative source for all their commercial awareness needs. However Tyler Dearson, a corporate lawyer at Barclays really simplified this, thus making it more approachable, and stimulating conversation about complex news stories- these are probably the kind of conversations you'd have in an interview for a training contract so it was great practice!
The day ended with panel sessions involving the BLD alumni, and lawyers from companies like Google and Barclays, to the Government Legal Department. There was also a talk by the founder of the BLD programme, Debo Nwauzu – (she was as warm and bubbly as they come), and a networking session with the programme sponsors over some delicious canapés. For me, this was the perfect way to close the day. Hearing about their unique, inspirational journeys and getting their advice was invaluable.
What I appreciated most about the day was that there was something for everyone. Whether you want to be a barrister, solicitor, in house lawyer, or work in the public sector- everyone's goals and needs were catered to. This event and the programme is inclusivity at its finest! There's something to learn from everyone there, not only the legal professionals but also the alumni and fellow participants. In fact, it was my peers that I met who really helped me prepare for my upcoming assessment centre based on their experiences! Therefore, the message conveyed at the beginning about making the most of the programme really resonates with me, and I plan to do this in every way possible.
I can honestly say that I left the Baker McKenzie office that evening feeling thoroughly inspired, encouraged, well connected and educated. If the induction day was an indicator of what the rest of the programme will be, I encourage everyone to apply! I feel privileged to be on the programme and I am enthusiastic to see what the rest of it will hold, and how I will develop as an individual in my chosen career path.
A big thank you to Tricia Eghagha, Annabel Burrows and the BLD Foundation Team and sponsors for putting together a wonderful induction day!
Wale Shekete shares his experience of the LLP Induction Day.
Eliza Parbi, Esther Musa, Gurpreet Ballagun, Maria Adesola and Mia Leslie share their experience of the LLP Induction Day.
Legal Launch Pad Induction Day photo gallery.