From De Montfort University to law students’ dream hat-trick
Despite their best efforts, law firms tend to be a step behind other professions in the social media stakes.
The world of vlogging — which has only come to prominence in recent years — is the antithesis of this. Modern and trendy, vlogging (a combination of ‘video’ and ‘blogging’) is quickly becoming an industry in itself.
‘Vlogger’ and ‘solicitor’ are words that, to the traditional legal mind, don’t quite gel. Yet Coleen Mensa is proof documenting your life on YouTube can help you reach training contract glory, three times over.
Law graduate Mensa has been vlogging in both her personal and professional (she vlogs for LawCareers.net) capacity for years, and has a social media following to die for. With over 11,000 Twitter followers and 10,000 Instagram followers, it’s safe to say Mensa is a bit of a social media superstar.
Unsurprisingly, then, sharing personal information online isn’t something she is shy about. Speaking to Legal Cheek, Mensa explains:
Talking to the camera feels natural to me. Yes, it’s personal content but if you are as comfortable with speaking as you are with writing, vlogging is just another way to express yourself.
While Mensa, who makes at least one YouTube video a month in her professional capacity, admits planning, filming and editing videos can be time-consuming especially in busy exam/TC hunt periods, proper time management solves all. She continues:
[I]t’s key to balance your time. If I’m in the office then clearly that takes priority, but I see social media as an outlet and if people want to get on board with it, then that’s great.
Being a social media VIP is something that’s becoming more and more common among law students and graduates, with YouTube proving a particularly popular outlet.
Take Durham Law School’s Katherine Baker, who has amassed a five-figure following on her popular channel BeautyByKat08. YouTuber Chelsie Angeles — a Westminster law student — has managed to gain a respectable number of watchers while rubbing shoulders with the likes of David Beckham. Then there’s bar hopeful Tina Lee Robles who, like Mensa, shares personal information about her life at law school with her following.
But just because it’s becoming more popular doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about what you say, especially when the subject matter discussed is particularly sensitive. City University LPC graduate Mensa realises this:
You have to approach vlogging as you would any other social media platform. Social media, if used in the right way, can open up a lot of opportunities. But you need to remember people can see your accounts at any time. It takes one video to go viral for people to get the wrong impression of you.
Social media savviness is key, especially in the — sometimes ultra-conservative — world of law. A number of firms even have their own policies, as Mensa discovered during a stint at a magic circle outfit at which she was embargoed from making tweets, etc, about the firm. But, if you bear this in mind, vlogging can “certainly” be a CV booster:
Vlogging is my hobby, but it is also a differentiator. Social media can be a really valuable way to build your network and develop your brand. I feel that most law firms recognise this, and proactively use social media and video technology for recruitment, such as advertising events and carrying out video interviews.
Take it from Mensa; her hard work has certainly paid off. Having begun her legal education at De Montfort University, the Pinsent Masons paralegal has achieved every law student’s dream and received a hat-trick of training contract offers — one at a magic circle firm, one at a US firm and one at a Big Four accountancy firm. It didn’t take long before she made a video about it.
As for future plans, Mensa “definitely” wants to keep up with vlogging when she starts her training. She even hopes to create a new channel especially for law students where she shares her experience of life in the legal profession. With a training contract at EY lined up for September 2017, she might be a bit stretched for time.