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20th July 2015

Advice to new graduates seeking first jobs

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Staff at Hewitsons who have been with the company since they graduated law school are offering advice to new graduates as they take their first steps towards their chosen careers. These employees, who have established positions within the law firm, have around 90 years combined work experience, with the majority of their working life being spent at Hewitsons.

This includes Liz Davies and Lucinda Brown, both partners at the firm. Liz Davies has been with Hewitsons since 1994, but switched practice areas from corporate to private client – a rarity within the legal profession. Liz Davies notes that it’s not too late for graduates to switch areas or roles in the future, but it will be a challenge.

Liz says: “It is possible to change; you don’t have to make a final decision on your chosen career path after you graduate. However, if you do change then this will require a big commitment from you and your employer. Luckily Hewitsons were very supportive, which helped me immensely as I had a young family at the time.”

This flexibility is noted by Lucinda Brown who became the youngest partner at Hewitsons five years ago when aged 30. She believes that graduates need to be flexible and adaptable when they start working. Lucinda reflects on her own experience where she took advantage of an opportunity in the contentious trust and probate area.

Lucinda says: “As a graduate it’s important to be flexible and adaptable, and recognise opportunities within your workplace. This is why there should be no rush go too specialist too quickly, as there will be plenty of time to develop a niche area that you feel comfortable with.”

Ceri Riddell, Kelly Wardell and Laurence Evans have all recently been promoted to associates at Hewitsons. All three completed the Hewitsons trainee programme and emphasise the importance of similar programmes for graduates as they enter the world of work.

Laurence explains: “Treat any training programme as a proper learning experience and take on any responsibilities given. At Hewitsons you get involved in high-level work quickly which is excellent for your career progression.”

Ceri says: “Training contracts are great at working out which area of law to qualify into as they offer different opportunities and areas for graduates to get involved in.”

Kelly comments: “At Hewitsons you become a real lawyer from day one of the training programme. However, in order to get this initial opportunity it’s important for graduates to get as much work experience under their belt as possible.”

Caroline Lewis, HR Director at Hewitsons, is the architect of the firm’s trainee programme. She believes that training programmes are important at developing graduates and identifying the best talent.

Caroline says: “Our training programme has a clear motto – we train to retain. Hewitsons provides the best training programme possible to retain the best talent. However, this is a two-way street between the staff and employer, so it’s vital that graduates make the most of any opportunity.”

For further information about our trainee programmes call 01223 532763 or click here.

Hewitsons’ top ten tips for graduates

1. Properly research the firms that you apply for.

2. Gain as much work experience as possible.

3. Be flexible and adaptable to different workloads and demands, and take on different responsibilities early. 4. Bring an element of personality, initiative and enthusiasm to your new job.

5. Embrace any training programme and use it as a learning experience.

6. Be open to different areas within a business and recognise opportunities when they come along.

7. Don’t worry about having to decide a chosen career or specialist area when you’re young – you can change paths in the future.

8. Demonstrate that you will go the extra mile for your employer.

9. Find a senior mentor and use their experience and knowledge as guidance.

10. Establish networking and social connections in the area. One good example in Cambridge is the Horizon Networking events hosted by Hewitsons every quarter.

A version of this article was published in the Cambridge News on the 20 July 2015.