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Marios Kontos

Legal Practice Course
Marios Kontos

My accrued experience demonstrated a commitment to human rights (…), which was noticed and appreciated by those who offered me a training contract.

UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group

When did you decide you wanted to be a lawyer?

I decided to pursue a career as a solicitor during the second year of my LLB at the University of Essex.

How did you come about doing the LPC?

I graduated from Essex in 2012. I went on to study for the LPC at CLS in September of the same year.

When did you do the LPC at CLS/ICSL?

I completed the LPC in 2013. I converted my diploma into an LLM in Legal Practice after submitting my dissertation in 2014.

What was your first job after the LPC?

An internship with REDRESS - a human rights organisation that helps survivors of torture to obtain justice and reparation worldwide.

Any other jobs before getting a training contract?

I interned with the Legal Protection Unit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in London. I then worked as a housing paralegal for a leading firm, where I gained solid experience of the Legal Aid system. I remained deeply interested in asylum and refugee law, so I subsequently joined Duncan Lewis Solicitors as a caseworker in the Immigration and Public Law Department. That was a key objective for me, as the firm is both the largest Legal Aid provider nationally and is being consistently recognised as a Top-Tier firm by Legal 500.

Where and when did you complete your training contract?

I worked as a caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors for approximately one year prior to starting my training contract in January 2017 and qualifying in January 2019. I stayed with the firm as a newly qualified solicitor before leaving to focus exclusively on my current role as the Legal Officer of the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG). I am now heading the legal service of the oldest charity in the UK and Europe assisting LGBTQI+ people through the immigration and asylum system.

Why do you think you got the training contract?

My accrued experience demonstrated a commitment to human rights and Legal Aid, which was noticed and appreciated by those who offered me a training contract. In addition, I had become accredited under the Law Society’s Immigration & Asylum Accreditation Scheme to undertake complex Legal Aid work, which gave me more opportunities as a prospective trainee.

Any tips for LPC students without training contracts?

The path to securing a training contract can be a long and uphill struggle. Sharpening key skills as early as possible through work experience or volunteering can shorten the journey, so the pro bono opportunities offered by CLS are invaluable. I would also recommend that students research regulatory bodies and professional associations relevant to their preferred practice areas, as they might come across useful information on alternative qualifications capable of opening more doors.