Christabel Ezidiegwu (LLB and placement)
After waiting for the restart of Street Legal following its temporary closure due to Covid-19, my decision to participate was an obvious and eagerly anticipated one.
I came to Buckingham knowing that I wanted to become a solicitor and practice law. I chose to participate in Street Legal because I knew it would help me gain real-world practical experience in a law firm. I would also get to explore different practice areas such as corporate law, employment law, and land law, just to name a few. I would get to meet real lawyers and hear about their own personal journeys and experiences, and form meaningful connections with them.
I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to do a one week placement with Joelson Law Firm through Street Legal. During this mini internship, I was given real assignments related to ongoing legal matters at the firm. I got to sit in on meetings with clients and presentations given by some of the associates. I was also able to have small meetings with the other street legal participants and the managing partners at Joelson, where we were given advice and insight on how to get your foot into the door of a law firm. Throughout the week, there were also opportunities to interact socially with the lawyers at the firm and connect with them on a more personal level.
I gained an endless number of benefits by completing the placement at Joelson. I was able to bridge the gap between my theoretical and practical knowledge of the law. I learned about many practical skills lawyers need. I was able to experience “life as a lawyer” and determine if it was the type of life I wanted to have. I observed how clients interact with their lawyers and each other professionally and learned about the social and professional skills lawyers should possess. I gained an understanding of how law firms function in general. I was able to grow my professional network by forming connections with the lawyers and paralegals I worked closely with. Finally, by working with the corporate and commercial team, I gained a better understanding of the importance of having commercial awareness. During my placement, I kept a journal which I updated with my daily activities, observations, and any advice that I was given. This is something which I will continually reference when applying for legal positions in the future.
As someone coming from the United States, I plan to achieve dual qualifications both in the US and the UK. I soon plan to take the New York bar exam and apply for legal positions in the UK, such as paralegal positions and training contracts. I know that the knowledge and experience I have gained through my Street Legal placement at Joelson has given me rare insight and a huge advantage when constructing my CV and applications. I am grateful for the experience and would recommend it to anyone interested in practicing law.