This isn't only my first LinkedIn article, it is also my first article ever.
Everybody in law has experienced the gut-wrenching feeling of rejection, especially at the beginning of their career.
I've had a keen interest in law for as long as I can remember, I was always following the latest cases in the news and wondering how I would present my arguments in the same situation.
At seventeen I had moved out of home and at eighteen I had applied to CILEx Law School with a local education provider, not wanting to burden myself with university tuition fees. I had a job working in a local magistrate's court as an Administration Officer and things seemed to be going incredibly well. I had good colleagues, a good pay scale for my age and a lot of hours. I was living comfortably.
Then I realised that to fulfil my qualifying employment requirements I needed to pick up a job where I myself was working in a legal environment and handling legal matters in a much more hands on manner. Not long after that, I was no longer at the magistrates court and I had become unemployed.
The first month was without mincing words, hell. I went to every law firm in the city that I live in and I dropped my CV and contact details into all of them. In hindsight, I had a blind sense of self-importance, I knew in my mind that I could contribute massively in any role they required of me. Upon reflection, I realised that those firms must get students contacting them all the time looking for work, I was merely a dime a dozen.
None of those city firms contacted me at all, not even one polite rejection. I was heartbroken and questioning whether I could carry on in my chosen career path. Some firms, I had checked for vacancies every day, it was bordering on obsession.
Not only was it my career on the line, because of being unemployed I was risking my tenancy at the shared accommodation in which I lived.
Then I chose to broaden my search for work to other cities that could be reached by train. I received a phone call a couple of weeks later whilst I was at dinner with my girlfriend at the time. I had an interview with a law firm that was based thirty minutes away from my home city by train. It was a testament to how demoralising the job search had been when even the prospect of an interview felt like a major victory.
This is because previously I had never failed an interview nor failed a job application but, the previous jobs were easy. This, was a completely different ball game with completely different standards. It was like going from high school basketball and then going straight into the NBA. Nothing can prepare you for that.
I woke up at 05:00 because I was so nervous, I checked the length of my tie about thirty times, my hair about fifty. I got off of the train and got lost on the way, but still arrived fifteen minutes early. I went through the interview and asked for feedback at the end, they said that they had been impressed with a lot of the things I was saying and I was overjoyed. I could barely contain my excitement.
Despite this, I still essentially passed out on the train home as a man from Swansea was trying to talk to me about rugby.
A month later, they hadn't contacted me and once again I'd lost hope. I'd considered starting an apprenticeship in a kitchen as I truly didn't believe I'd get a chance in law.
Then, an old friend of mine had recommended that I send my CV into SME Broker Services Limited, a brokerage specialising in data and energy brokering for the utilities industry.
An opening had just appeared for a new Corporate Paralegal, it sounded too good to be true. A job in the exact field of law I wanted, in my city. I sent my CV however, there was little hope whilst I applied, I had faced rejection so many times before that I merely expected it.
That same day I went for an interview and suddenly my confidence had lifted again, this was the best opportunity yet and I was not going to let it slide. I met with the Managing Director, Alex Nicholls for the interview and I was very impressed with the company, a young but incredibly talented workforce by anybody's standards.
The interview went very well but I was still wary, as I had been rejected at this stage very recently, despite it looking like a sure thing that I would be hired, Then, I received a phone call at around 19:30 that night. It was the Managing Director. He had offered me the job and I could barely contain my joy, I most likely sounded like a boy at Christmas on the phone.
He had taken a chance on me, I was under no illusions that I was young and carried a lot of risks with that. Inexperience of working in a corporate environment, inexperienced in regards to people skills and the industry as a whole. I don't think I would have hired me with that in mind.
This made me work harder to prove myself and now, a few months down the line, I take great pride in my role as the Corporate Paralegal at SME Broker Services, because not only am I fulfilling my qualifying employment for CILEx and taking a step to fulfilling my dream of being a lawyer, I also work within an ambitious and friendly team where we all work together to make things happen.
I now work within a role that matches my ambition and from a standpoint of personal development, I have gained more through working at SME Broker Services than I ever did from school or my previous employment. The company is expanding rapidly, we have recently moved into a new office and things only seem to be getting better. I can definitely see myself staying here for the long run.
At SME Broker Services I am responsible for all legal matters within the business as an internal specialist, I work closely with the company's external solicitors for guidance and mentoring, this means that I ultimately save the company money against legal expenses.
In hindsight, it's a blessing that I was not picked up by any of those law firms because now, I work with an amazing group of people.
The point I have been getting at throughout this article is that, it is okay to be rejected when you're just getting started in law. No matter how many decision makers say "you're too young" or "you don't have enough experience", there will always be someone that will take a chance on you. Like Alex has done with me.
You just need to keep persevering, the road to getting there will be rocky but if you keep chipping away at the glass ceiling you'll be able to climb on top of it. You should see rejection by a firm as their loss, not the other way around as youare an asset to them.
Then, eventually you will find a company who not only values your skills, but values you as a person and that is definitely worth the wait and the hard times.
There will be sleepless nights, self-doubt, a crisis of ego but that's all part of it. The best lawyers and legal professionals are the ones who have been through it and kept going. Dreams were made to be chased and they won't be realised if you give up.
So, go and chase it and don't let the rejections stop you.
I'm chasing said dream, and I will be a qualified lawyer at the end of these four years should everything go smoothly.
Visit Kieran's article on LinkedIn here: https://tinyurl.com/rejectioninlaw
Visit Kieran's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sme-kieranevans/