A Talk with Craig Sharpe from Darlington’s Solicitors
Having been to an array of events held by law firms over the 3 years of my undergraduate study, none have quite compared to the personal and down to earth approach taken by Craig Sharpe when providing us with insight into Darlingtons LLP. From my personal experience, I feel as if many undergraduates are likely to be attracted to international firms due to their generous salaries, secondments abroad and fancy glass buildings. Tunnel vision here ultimately leads to many undergraduates overlooking small/mid-sized firm. The events held by regional firms are quite robotic in that they often begin with a short presentation on the overview of the firm, a question and answer panel and some networking. Oh, and let’s not forget the free drinks. The problem with these events is that even though you get to meet and talk to a variety of individuals in the firm, you’re just a face in a crowd of many students and so it can be hard for you to stand out.
What made the event at Darlingtons special was that Craig took a more personal and informal approach. He didn’t give the usual speech on how the legal profession has become very competitive, instead he took us through a journey of his 30 years working in law and gave us a comparison of what he found good and bad about working at big firms and as a lawyer in general. He then moved on to give us an insight into how he sees the legal profession will evolve to be like in the future and gave us a visual representation of on the number of lawyers who have received there right to practice. The presentation given didn’t just focus on Darlingtons as a firm. It allowed enough information for a general overview of the profession in addition to advice for doing well in an application to a law firm. Not only did this give some context towards the profession, it also allowed to appreciate the benefit and disadvantages of being a solicitor whether it be in a big or small firm.
The legal profession has stereotypically been labelled as quite mundane and boring but the event held by Darlingtons broke that stereotype. It was a very social and enjoyable presentation with plenty of time for asking questions and enough information to help students to make an informative decision about their steps after university. One thing that would make the talk even better would be to have another member or even a trainee of the firm share their experience as a lawyer so students get a more broader view of the legal profession as well as the firm.
-Aadil Shara, University of Westminster
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