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Natasha’s story

NatashaComing from a working class background, a career in law always seemed out of my reach. I am the product of generations of teenage parents. Neither of my parents went to university and for some time I was convinced that I wouldn’t fit in with legal professionals, due to my accent, upbringing and culture.

However, I am ambitious and hardworking. My grades do not match up to the underachiever I should be according to every statistic out there. The only thing that holds me back in my career and education is a lack of connections; after all, in many cases, it’s more about who you know, not what you know. So, when a teacher at Loreto College recommended that I apply for the SMF’s Aspiring Professionals Programme, I jumped at the chance to make connections with industry professionals, and was thrilled to be accepted onto it.

Thanks to the APP – and to the more than dedicated team at the SMF – I have been able to experience things which I could have never have experienced without their help. Just to be able visit Russell Group universities, such as the University of Leeds and UCL, was a big deal to me, as neither myself nor my mum could ever afford to pay for the train fares to get me to cities outside of Manchester or the North West.

Training I have received through the APP (for example, at a Manchester launch event and a Professional Boot Camp) has also provided me with a variety of skills to use whilst in the workplace, as well as giving me valuable information about my university options and personal statements.

Now that the SMF has set up an office in Manchester, my home city, I know that I – and a lot of other SMF students across the North West – cannot wait to get involved in the work they will be doing in the area.

The mentoring scheme provided as part of the APP is extremely beneficial. Being able to speak to someone working within the career sector I aspire to enter is valuable in so many ways, whether it be just to ask for advice, or learning about the route they have taken to get to where they are.

Last, but by no means least, I was lucky enough to participate in the SMF Residential Programme, where I went to London to complete an internship at Linklaters. For me, just to be in London was an experience in itself, but to learn from legal professionals in so many different fields, alongside like-minded people my own age, was something which would have been impossible without the help of the SMF. Linklaters couldn’t have been more welcoming to us, and they have completely changed my perception of who has what it takes to enter the legal profession. The company is full of so many talented individuals from all walks of life, which has given me the confidence and drive to believe that I will – one day – achieve the career I want. I learnt a lot about what it takes to get my dream job, but I also learnt a lot about myself, and came back to Manchester from London more motivated than ever before.

From sending off my personal statement to my university graduation, I know that the SMF will be supporting me all the way. I couldn’t be more thankful.

Natasha, APP and Linklaters Residential Programme, 2014

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