Adam graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2019, before moving on to study his LPC and LLM at the University of Law in Exeter which he completed in 2020.
Adam will commence his Training Contract with a National Law Firm in March 2021. He currently works as a Paralegal whilst running his Coffee shop Amigos Coffee.
Adam also runs his own legal blog and website which he uses to share tips with and offer advice to aspiring lawyers.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our Aspiring Lawyer Miniseries!
[0:00:00.0] Harry Wilde: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Legally Speaking Podcast mini-series powered by Kissoon Carr. My name is Harry, head ambassador for Kissoon Carr and host for today’s episode. Today I am delighted to be joined by our guest feature, future trainee solicitor Adam Richards. Adam graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2019 before going on to study as LPC and LLM at the University of Law at Exeter.
He currently works as a paralegal and will be commencing his training contract with a national law firm in March 2021. Hi Adam, thank you so much for joining us in today’s episode.
[0:00:31.3] Adam Richards: Absolutely, thank you for having me.
[0:00:34.6] Harry Wilde: No worries at all, now I wanted to start by asking you about your legal journey so far and your achievements to date. How did you find the application process when you were applying for training contracts?
[0:00:44.0] Adam Richards: Well, it’s a bit of a minefield out there and there’s you know lots and lots of firms. It’s all about research I think it’s one of the key things, finding a firm that fits you. There are so many firms out there whether it’s a high street firm, national, international you need to find a fit for yourself. So, I think you know work experience is key as well. Personally, I applied for 6 training contracts all together and they ranged from high street firms here in Plymouth all the way through to Magic Circle firms in London.
It was a bit disheartening sometimes when you get an instant no, so you know the London Magic Circle firms, I think a lot of them still tend to want Oxford graduates and I know it’s getting a little bit easier, a little bit more diverse, but I think it is still quite difficult to get in to those firms. You know I am very, very happy, I’m very happy with the firm that I have got. I am looking forward to starting my training next year.
[0:01:35.8] Harry Wilde: Of course, good stuff. What benefits do you think having experience as a paralegal has with regards to securing a training contract?
[0:01:43.9] Adam Richards: Well, as you know I have spoken to you previously but I didn’t have any particular experience before I gained my training contract but I did have quite a lot of work experience. So, I worked as cabin crew, I have worked overseas, I have worked for you know huge firms, Thomas Cook, Mr. Travel Agent, a lot of customer facing roles and also alongside my studies here in Plymouth as Usher at Theatre Royal and things like that.
Personally, as a paralegal right now, and I was a paralegal last year for the firm as well, I think the biggest bonus of that kind of work is that you are in a law firm and you can see how they work. You can talk to the people, you can talk to the solicitors, you know the bigger the firm the more people there are. But you know it’s a personal thing so if you want a small high street firm then by all means go for those and I did get work experience in a small law firm as well just to see the difference. Sometimes, it’s not for you, sometimes you will be like “yes, this is the firm for me” so go tor it.
[0:02:38.0] Harry Wilde: Of course, and what one piece of advice would you give to aspiring lawyers currently going through the application cycle?
[0:02:44.0] Adam Richards: Don’t be disheartened. Coronavirus has caused a lot of, lot of issues. I have been made redundant from one position. Luckily, I have got the job back with the firm that I’m going to train with which is amazing. I don’t want to sound too cheesy but I always tell people to be themselves. It’s pretty noticeable when people aren’t themselves in an interview and things like that.
You know I have been at assessment days for British Airways, Easy Jet and things like that and it’s obvious from the moment you walk in if someone isn’t being themselves. So, I think write some notes down, think about how you act, your mannerisms and just shine through. I think you know law firms are looking for people not just machines, so be yourself I think is my main point.
[0:03:25.0] Harry Wilde: For sure, great piece of advice. Did you want to tell our audience what inspired you to create your own legal blog website and more about the work you do within this?
[0:03:33.7] Adam Richards: I mean I do need to do a hell lot of a lot more work on it. It’s been a bit of a hectic couple of months for me personally, with everything going on with COVID. I’m a part owner in a coffee shop here in Plymouth as well with my partner so I’ve been doing a lot of business and things like that. My blog I think my main reason for setting that up was you know I obviously saw yours and how much great work you were doing, Harry. And I just thought you know you need to get out there you know, I come form a relatively poor background, I had a hell of a lot of work experience but I never once imagined of becoming a solicitor you know. 5-6-7, well 5 years ago yes, because I was at Uni, but 10-15 years ago I would never have even imagined and one thing for me is that you know Mary Poppins quote that I love is that “anything can happen if you let it” and it really can.
And you know my blog I kind of wanted to showcase people that have come from different backgrounds, you know the LGBTQ side of things, and it can still be difficult for people to get into firms and see people. You just need to get out there you know get noticed I mean I know that’s very difficult at the moment with Coronavirus but attend virtual law fairs. Write emails to firms and HR people, they are more than willing to respond definitely.
So, I just wanted to showcase that you can do it if you want to and if you really want to you know a law degree is difficult, as you know, as well as the masters and the LPC, it is difficult. You know you can’t lie, but with determination you can get there and I’m an example of that.
[0:04:56.5] Harry Wilde: Absolutely, now I wanted to conclude by asking you something that I’d like to ask all of our guests, what changes do you think need to made within the legal profession to make a career in law more accessible to everybody?
[0:05:07.5] Adam Richards: Very good question, I have been thinking about this one. With the SQE coming and the super exam I think that’s going to make it a little bit easier for some people to get into law. We still don’t how difficult those exams are going to be. I think there is some floating around of some questions that may be in them or things like that. I mean it’s some big, big changes happening in that side of things in the SRA as most of you know I’m sure.
But one thing I would probably say is I think law firms also need to push on promoting things like Cylex you know charts for legal executives and things like that because I was hardly aware of any of it before I started my paralegalling and that is a way in. And I know some firms also have legal apprentices and they will train you up without you having to go to university and being paid while you do it which I think is amazing. So, don’t be put off if you don’t want to go to the university. You can still get there.
[0:05:56.4] Harry Wilde: For sure, I want to say a huge thank you to our guest feature, Adam. It’s been a real pleasure having you and great to hear your insights alongside many of the things that you have learned throughout your legal journey. I wish you all the best for your future and good luck for when you start your training contract in 2021.
[0:06:09.5] Adam Richards: Thank you Harry, that’s great.
[0:06:11.1] Harry Wilde: Thank you very much, thank you all for tuning in to today’s episode, which brings a close to my aspiring lawyer mini-series. I hope you have all enjoyed listening and be sure to keep a lookout for all the exciting things that we have to come in the future.