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Niresha Umaichelvam

Legal Practice Course
Niresha Umaichelvam

Commitment to the profession helped me gain a training contract. (…) it is not just grades but a genuine passion and willingness to effect change

RHW Solicitors LLP

When did you decide you wanted to be a lawyer?

When I was 17, I did my work experience with a local, high street family law firm and absolutely loved it. I thought it would be a great way to turn my favourite hobby of talking into a profession – so down the route of law I went.

I’ve also always had a passion for helping others and speaking up for individuals whose voices are silenced. I thought law would be the ideal way for me to help seek social justice.

How did you come about doing the LPC?

I did my undergraduate degree at City during 2011 – 2014. It felt natural for me to study the LPC at City. During my third year undergraduate modules, I chose an elective called “legal skills” on which many of the LPC tutors ran the elective. I found their teaching styles, warmth and kindness great and knew I would be in safe hands on the LPC.

I also converted my LPC into an LLM by doing the additional thesis in Legal Practice which I really enjoyed. I graduated from my LPC and LLM in 2015.

When did you do the LPC at CLS/ICSL?

2014 - 2015

What was your first job after the LPC?

I initially undertook an internship with Amnesty International UK, within the Individuals at Risk Team. This team campaigns and researches into global human rights violations and campaigns for change. It was a fantastic insight into enhancing advocacy, legal research and other key skills I developed on the LPC. I did this internship for six months.

Any other jobs before getting a training contract?

I was a paralegal for a year and a half before commencing my training contract in July 2017. I covered private client, employment, immigration, conveyancing, civil litigation and family law. My favourite areas were immigration and family law. I really enjoyed my time as a paralegal and felt this eased me into the role as a trainee solicitor.

Where and when did you complete your training contract?

I completed my training contract with SJS Solicitors in South London, during 2017 – 2019. This is a small, high street practice but the level of responsibility I was given was immense. It gave me a lot of independence and confidence in my profession and I had a good time at this firm.

Why do you think you got the training contract?

I really dedicated a lot of time and effort into my job. I found private client quite difficult but instead of shying away, I tried my best to tackle areas of uncertainty head on. My supervisor was extremely helpful and guided me in a way that moulded me into the solicitor that I am.

I really put myself out there and did a lot of additional reading at home. I love immigration and would spend weekends reading new case law and updates. With family law, I started attending voluntary seminars to gain a deeper understanding.

I think the commitment to the profession helped me gain a training contract. I learnt that it is not just grades but a genuine passion and willingness to effect change can help you secure a training contract.

Any tips for LPC students without training contracts?

I would not fret about it and continue paralegalling and applying. I also would highly recommend looking at smaller firms and not just large corporate firms. At high street firms, you are given one to one training and thrown in from your first day, so the levels of exposure are fantastic. I went on to a larger, legal 500 firm after qualifying so I am happy with the route I took to secure a training contract.

I strongly urge students to have faith and believe in yourself as self confidence plays a major factor on how you come across in applications and interviews. Don’t be cocky though! Getting as much experience under your belt will really take you a long way.