School of Business and Law

Inspiring journeys to work

Work ‘smart’ and do not let things you perceive as barriers hold you back: advice from Law alumni.

Zoe Bowler – a 2017 Brighton Law School graduate from our Law with Criminology LLB(Hons) degree is now a Trainee Solicitor at top law firm Charles Russell Speechlys. We caught up with Zoe for her take on how resilience can help you get the career you want, regardless of your A-level grades.

“I received poor A-level grades which I was very disappointed with, especially because at the time I felt I had worked as hard as I could (taking into consideration that I did have some extenuating circumstances). I knew it was going to make it more difficult to get into a London law firm, as many have a high threshold for A-level requirements. My mum even questioned if going to university was right for me, however I was determined to go and eventually work in the law despite her reservations.

“At university I took the time to work ‘smart’ through my studies and used every opportunity to learn. I wanted to prove that going to university was the right choice and focus on doing everything I could to increase my chances of getting into the career I wanted. I came out of university with a first class degree, I did not let the A-level grades hold me back from applying for training contracts at city firms, despite not meeting the grade thresholds. Achieving this grade in my degree showcased my true potential and I was given the opportunity to attend a vacation scheme with city law firm Charles Russell Speechlys. I used this opportunity to showcase my skills and knowledge, showing that despite the grades I should be taken on as a trainee. Through this I was offered a training contract which I started in August 2020.

“The two lessons I have learnt from this situation are, make sure you are always working smart, if you work smart you can use your time wisely to get things done in the most efficient way possible and get a lot out of the process. Secondly, do not let things you perceive as barriers hold you back, you will get to where you want to be provided you keep at it, even if you are not taking the same route as everyone else.”

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Clare Prust • January 28, 2021

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