After completing his undergraduate degree in History at University College London, Alex Aristides decided to go see the world and spent a gap year in Hong Kong. He used this as an opportunity to work on his personal and professional development.
During his year in Hong Kong, he worked full-time as a gap tutor at Harrow International School and traveled whenever he could. Recognizing the connection between the law systems of Hong Kong and the U.K., Alex decided to give law a try and completed a legal internship at MinterEllison’s Hong Kong office. As someone who has always been set on pursuing an intellectually stimulating career, this was the perfect step for him before returning home to the U.K. to start law school.
Back home, Alex completed the GDL with a high Distinction grade and completed law programs with Forage to keep up with his progression in law. The combination of his ambitions and experiences set him on the path to eventually accept a training contract offer with Hogan Lovells.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, Alex found Forage through a friend and completed both the Hogan Lovells U.K. and Latham & Watkins M&A virtual experience programs to keep himself productive and prepare himself for upcoming vacation scheme opportunities. The programs allowed him to experience the typical training tasks of a Trainee Solicitor and develop the hard skills that would help him to succeed with law firms. Alex became comfortable with legal jargon, discovered the best practices for problem-solving, and polished up his work by comparing them to model work done by real lawyers.
By utilizing Forage’s virtual experiences, Alex had an edge in the hiring process for Hogan Lovells’ winter vacation scheme.
“Forage gave me the chance to get to know a firm beyond their website and promotional materials,” he says.
Specifically, by completing the experience with the firm he hoped to work at, Alex was able to bring up his knowledge about their pro bono initiatives that he had not previously known about. Thus, proving to the firm that he went the extra mile. Alex landed the role for the vacation scheme with Hogan Lovells and after completing it, he also landed a training contract offer at the firm.
Alex’s Advice for Aspiring Lawyers
For those who are on a similar career path as him, Alex offered useful advice on how he became a trainee solicitor. He stressed the importance of gaining experience living abroad as it boosted his maturity levels, making him ready for the Hogan Lovells position. Also, he noted that Forage is “an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other candidates” and would recommend it to other aspiring lawyers.
More specifically, Alex advised that students should meet with the firm they hope to work for before applying. Going to an open day allows for a direct line of communication with graduate recruiters and an opportunity to ask questions about the firm.
If attending an open day is not possible, Alex suggested other avenues through which students can engage with their target firms. For example, during the application process for Hogan Lovells, he often tuned in to the firm’s ‘Straight Talking’ podcast on Spotify. Alex stresses the importance of being yourself to ensure your personality matches that of the firm.
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