In March I was lucky enough to attend the TARGETjobs Inside City Law event, held at RPC in London. This was an exclusive networking event that was a chance to meet likeminded students from across the country and engage with experienced City lawyers. I subscribed to TARGETjobs’ mailing list when I started university and would initially skim read the emails listing open days, thinking that law firms would not be interested in first-year students and that there would no point in applying. However, the advertisement for Inside City Law caught my attention as it was specifically designed for first-year students.
Nothing to lose by applying
Deciding I had nothing to lose, I filled in the online application and carried on as normal, not thinking that I would receive an invitation to a telephone interview. After I scheduled my telephone interview I suddenly realised that I wasn’t even sure what it meant to be a City lawyer. Every law student aspires to be a City lawyer, and phrases such as ‘commercial law’ and ‘corporate law’ are often spoken about with desirability, but do we actually know what these mean? I made it my mission, if I was successful in my application, to understand what was meant by these phrases that are used so effortlessly.
I completed my telephone interview as part of the application and a couple of weeks later found out that I had not been successful in gaining a place but had instead been put on a reserve list incase somebody dropped out. I remember feeling disappointed that I hadn’t been successful, but friends and family reassured me that it was my first application to an open day and it was an achievement in itself to have made it to the reserve list. I listened to their reassurances and accepted that I had made it to the interview stage and I should still be proud of my achievements. Little did I know that four days before the event I would be invited to attend as somebody had dropped out!
Experiences on the day
I remember panicking about organising my train tickets and even questioning if this was a mistake and that I would travel to London from Southampton and not even have a place at the event. In the few days I had to prepare I hurriedly researched previous Inside City Law events and RPC in the hope that it would not be obvious when I arrived that I was not as prepared as everyone else.
On arrival I remember making sure my nerves didn’t get the better of me and, in reality, the day couldn’t have gone any better! From presentations from senior partners and trainees at RPC to individual and group presentations, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at RPC. The pace of the day reflected the fast pace nature of a City firm and, for me, this was perfect: I didn’t have time to panic or worry about my presentation I just had to do it. From just a single day spent in a completely new environment I found confidence that I didn’t even know I had, and it gave me the drive and motivation to succeed at my studies and aim for the very best.
I will certainly be applying in October for RPC’s 2019 summer scheme. If I am successful in gaining a place, I hope to secure a training contract for 2021 at the end of the two weeks.
One thing I took from the whole experience – application to attending – is that your own individual achievements are what count and that, even though I was not selected initially on the day, that didn’t matter. My advice to anyone considering applying for open days is to do it as there is nothing to lose and, even if you are not successful, opportunities will always arise.
Amelia, Inside City Law event attendee