Onose was over the moon when she was accepted as a future trainee solicitor with White & Case in the UK (starting in 2022), though the pathway to becoming a commercial lawyer was a time of self-discovery, growth, and hard work.
When she left school, Onose started her first degree as a Bachelor of International Law and Diplomacy in Nigeria – it was during this time that she discovered her passion for international affairs and development. Like any right of passage, Onose spent her undergrad working casually, exploring her country through volunteering, getting involved in university life, and focussing on her studies. A wonderful time of life as a uni student! However, once she finished, Onose left feeling a little underprepared for her next step on a professional level.
So, Onose needed to figure out how she could turn her interests into a profession – haven’t we all been there?
That’s when she turned her attention to the idea of being an international commercial lawyer – she realized this was the perfect way for her to have a global focussed career and to contribute to economic and social development – a dream combination in fact. The challenge lay in finding opportunities that would help her achieve her goal to land a position in an international firm.
She was accepted into a Bachelor of Law program at the University of Leicester in the UK, followed by a Masters of Law at the University College London. She wanted to take control of her career and to find experiences to fill the gaps on her resume. Onose started to be really proactive in finding opportunities, and the need for more experience became increasingly evident as her applications for legal internships were unsuccessful in the first year of her legal degree.
Onose completed a summer internship at a court of arbitration in Nigeria and heard about the White & Case UK virtual experience program on Forage through her university. She was already interested in applying for this firm and saw the program as an opportunity to gain a broader picture of the organization. She also completed the Latham & Watkins Mergers and Acquisitions virtual experience program to further develop her corporate legal skillset.
Through the virtual experience programs, Onose learned some legal jargon and terminology, challenged herself with new concepts in commercial law, and became more confident that commercial law was the right path forward. Although she thinks the real advantage lies in being able to see the connection between the work a law firm does and its value proposition:
“Every instruction would tie back to the client, and it brought back to what the firm says about being client-centric. So I could see that it was a really relevant and applicable task rather than an abstract task.”
With real insight into White & Case through the experience program, Onose felt she had more to write about and discuss during the application process as she hadn’t simply heard about how the firm works, she had actually practiced their approach to being client-focused. She feels the program contributed to helping her achieve her position at the firm.
She encourages all students to be proactive in their careers and to take advantage of the opportunities on Forage as a way to develop professionally and personally. She left this final, heartwarming statement of advice for the Forage community 🙂
“No one will be the author of your career path like you will be – so write the story you want to see play out.”
Onose is a Master of Laws – LLM, International Commercial Law student at University College London
By Annabel Gurney