Virtual work experience programme - Q&A with Elena Bonam
We recently caught up with Elena Bonam, Manchester SQE Trainee who will be joining the fraud team in September 2021. She discusses how enrolling in our virtual work experience programme helped gain the skills necessary for success as a trainee.
How long did it take for you to complete the programme?
The programme took me around two weeks to complete, spending a day on each task with breaks in-between.
Who is featured in the programme from Kennedys?
The programme is introduced by Suzanne Liversidge, the Global Managing Partner, in a short video. The programme features trainees and a current solicitor apprentice, showcasing the different possible qualification routes. The trainees introduce each of the tasks in a short video, which provides background to the task. This is supplemented by written instructions and documentation outlining the information necessary for the task. Each introductory video is a message from a trainee, making it feel as though you are collaborating on the task as part of a wider team.
Who should complete the programme?
This programme is invaluable to anybody hoping to undertake a traineeship through either route to qualification at any firm. Before doing the programme, I believed that I had a good knowledge of legal skills, particularly as my degree is focused on practical learning opportunities. However, applying these skills to realistic scenarios has allowed me to fine-tune the skills. The programme also allows you to improve your CV and catch the eye of Kennedys. It also helps you if you get through to the interview stage. I certainly found that the programme helped me to perform better at the virtual assessment centre.
What did you learn?
What did you learn about Kennedys from this programme?
The programme taught me a lot about Kennedys and the skills necessary for success as a trainee.
Assisting with a client pitch presentation gave me the opportunity to do some research into Kennedys. My research highlighted the global reach and reputation of the firm, the importance of their culture and values, the use of innovation and technology, and the practice areas and expertise of the firm. The programme also encourages research into the commercial aspects of the insurance industry, and how Kennedys support their clients.
By completing work typically expected of trainees, the programme allows you to develop a range of skills. Each task is focused on the development of key skills. Skills include legal drafting, legal analysis, commercial awareness and advice, presentations, document review, client contact and legal research.
How will the skills you developed help you when starting with us as a trainee?
These skills will help me when I start as a trainee, as I’ll be able to apply the skills to complete work to the highest possible standard, whilst also thinking about the importance of being commercially aware. The programme also supported the development of my own communication skills, which will allow me to engage with colleagues and clients.
The programme also provides feedback on each task, which allows you to compare your work to an example piece provided by Kennedys. This has allowed me to develop the skills necessary to improve my work based on feedback, which will be essential to becoming a successful trainee.
Your top tips and advice
What is your advice for anyone looking to get into law?
Persevere. Application processes can be incredibly frustrating and upsetting. Rejection can be hard to accept and can make you feel like a failure. However, it is important to remember that often the issue is not you as a candidate, it is just that you weren’t the right candidate for that particular firm. A tutor once told me “if you’re not the right candidate for the firm, they aren’t the right firm for you”. You will find the right firm if you persevere and keep trying. Be yourself and hopefully you will find the right firm for you.
Remember that although rejections can be incredibly difficult, you have learnt something new from every application process. This can be useful for your next interview. Ask for feedback as this will help your improvement.
When choosing your modules at university, don’t worry about which modules you choose. Some of my friends elected to take certain modules, based on the firm they hoped to join. I chose to pick modules I knew I would enjoy and hopefully perform well in. That decision hasn’t affected my next steps after university. Enjoy your modules and take every opportunity to learn something new. I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to join the fraud team and learning how we can support our clients.