How to secure work experience through networking

Be confident — and then follow through

handshake

University of West London criminology and psychology graduate Danniy Galasso (pictured below), 22, managed to secure a week’s work experience at Fletchers, the UK’s largest medical negligence law firm, during the networking session after Legal Cheek‘s recent ‘Why the law needs people who see the world differently’ event.

She tells Legal Cheek Careers how she did it.

Legal Cheek Careers: You’ve just completed a placement at Fletchers that you landed completely off your own back at our recent event. How did that come about?

Danniy Galasso: During the panel discussion I really enjoyed listening to Ed Fletcher, the chief executive of Fletchers. He seemed really positive and passionate, and obviously had a great attitude. That drew me to him and I wanted to hear more. So I resolved to try to speak to him afterwards. When the Q&A finished and it was announced that there would be an opportunity to network with the speakers I immediately made my way towards him.

danniy-article

Legal Cheek Careers: All the panellists had a lot of students trying to speak to them. How did you battle your way through the crowds?

Galasso: Several students were quicker than me but I had an advantage in that I had asked the last question during the panel session, so Ed remembered my face. There hadn’t been time to fully deal with my question — about how to get a training contract before doing the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) — so he was keen to continue his response. He advised me to get as much work experience as I could before committing to the very high cost of law school. At that point I thought, “Why not?”, and I asked him if I could do work experience with him.

Legal Cheek Careers: We admire your cheek. What did he say?

Galasso: He gave me his card and told me to email him my CV. So as soon as I got home, while the experience was still fresh in my mind, I emailed him. I received a response a few days later from Fletchers inviting me to do a week’s work experience with them.

Legal Cheek Careers: You live in Swindon, but Fletchers is based in the North West. Was that an issue?

Galasso: No, my older sister was kind enough to drive me and we got a hotel in Southport for the week. I’m open minded to working anywhere and it was a great opportunity that I wasn’t going to miss out on.

Legal Cheek Careers: How has the week you spent at Fletchers helped you in your plans to become a lawyer?

Galasso: It has helped me look beyond criminal law, which to date has been my area of focus having studied criminology. In fact I had no experience of personal injury work before. It’s really opened my eyes — medical negligence is an area that doesn’t get very much recognition but it’s obvious from doing the placement how important it is and how much support clients need.

There were a lot of surprising cases that I was able to gain an insight into, and I wasn’t expecting to be so touched. When you hear everyone’s story — for example, elderly people who have been mistreated or terminally ill people who have had their needs ignored — you want to help them. Now I’m looking at careers in this area.

Legal Cheek Careers: What is the next step?

I’m currently seeking paralegal work. Something entry level, to get me started. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in London. I need experience, and ideally a training contract, before starting the GDL.

What is clear is that if you want to become a solicitor, you can’t just hang around — you have to make it happen. But I have come this far, becoming the first person in my family, alongside my sister, to get a degree, after doing an HND in public services from New College Swindon. So hopefully with hard work I will be able to make this next step.

Fletchers is the largest medical negligence law firm in the UK. It offers 30 graduate positions each year and four summer vacation scheme places.

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17 Comments

Salacious Gossip

I knew someone who was networking in the Clifford Chance pool. They followed through and, despite the subsequent pool evacuation, they received a vac scheme place. True story.

(19)(3)
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Anonymous

I wanted to make a follow through joke. But, fair play, you beat me to it and yours is better than mine would have been. Green thumb for you.

(4)(0)
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Anonymous

How is this so though? Did they know them personally or were they just there at the right place at the right time? Surely those law firms require an objective application process.

(1)(2)
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Anonymous

Salacious gossip- How is this so though? Did they know them personally or were they just there at the right place at the right time? Surely those law firms require an objective application process.

(0)(1)
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Anonymous

CC’s objective test is how well one can handle public defecation in a large body of water. Scores are calculated based on odour, colour and the number of sweet corn kernels present in the ooze.

(2)(0)
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Not Amused

This makes me uncomfortable.

I would rather that firms used an objective system that everyone has an equal chance of getting. This all seems a bit random to me and not obviously fair.

(14)(8)
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Sir Ponsonby Smythe-Smallpiece

How networking really works:

“Hello, I’m Cecil. I think you know my father.”

“By Jove yes, we were at Eton as Oxford together. Have a pupillage”

(32)(3)
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The Brownsons

We’re concerned that Emme and Belle might be falling behind. Can you advise on the best way to integrate them into today’s modern, commercial marketplace while simultaneously facilitating their capacity to become toilet trained?

(11)(0)
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Middle Class Parenting Expert

Don’t worry. Children of middle class hardworking parents are no longer expected to be toilet trained by day before the age of 7, and by night before the age of 15.

Google “Drynites” for proof!

(0)(0)
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Middle Class Parent

Yes, and at £24K per annum I would have thought it’s the least that the school can do to potty train my teenage daughters!

(0)(0)
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Anonymous

OMG. I thought you and the poster (or maybe you’re the same poster) from the other article were just using ‘Emme’ and ‘Belle’ to make fun of their middle class-ness, but that’s actually the names of their children. Absolutely howling.

(0)(0)
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Anonymous

Paraweasling for years followed by a TC and then blozzing docs for years to become a senor associate. After enough evenings missing family time you can become partner. After signing a document guaranteeing the firm’s overdraft against your house. Or just suck a big one to jump a few rungs up the ladder.

(3)(0)
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