As someone born and raised on the Isle of Wight, surrounded by rolling green fields and long sandy beaches in almost equal measure, I must confess that waking up each morning to the unique architecture of Coventry to be something of a culture shock.
It isn’t that I dislike Coventry, the place and people have kindly adopted me and I have only good things to say of the place (apart from the architecture; I challenge anyone to find a meaningfully positive comment on this concrete sprawl), but it will never be home to me.
While it is where I live during the working week the weekend finds me back in my boyhood home, visiting family and friends and playing rugby at a delightfully amateur level with Ryde RFC.
The obvious question that this raises is why, if my ties to the Isle of Wight are so strong, do I not move back down South?
The Island is many things, but a legal heartland it is not. Although there are a number of excellent high street firms practicing, the number of available training contracts has always been small and fiercely contested.
As the global recession forced firms throughout the country to make cutbacks, most notably in the ‘new lawyer’ sector that consists of trainee and newly qualified solicitors, the already limited opportunities on the Isle of Wight have decreased still further.
Much talk has been made over recent years as to the oversubscription that exists within the legal profession, and I and my classmates have experienced this first hand. Many of those that graduated alongside me have failed to secure a training contract and a number have, despite their time and financial outlay up to this point, been unable to secure any jobs within the legal industry at all.
I also applied for positions at firms in the West Midlands and was fortunate enough to be taken on by my current employers, Averta Employment Lawyers LLP, as a paralegal. The experience I gain working at such a niche yet experienced employment law firm is invaluable and will stand me in good stead, I hope, for when I apply for training contracts in the future.
While living and working in the West Midlands is not ideal from a personal perspective, I am fully aware of the number of students that finish the LPC and are unable to find any jobs within the legal profession at all. I’m grateful for the opportunities I currently have, even if it does mean that I have become better acquainted with service stations on the A34 than I might like.
David True is a paralegal at Averta Employment Lawyers
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