Ladder to Law

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by Oreoluwa Olowolagba, Year 11 student

On the 8th November 2019, 5 Year 11 students, alongside the Head of MFL Mlle Bajer, were gifted with the opportunity to attend a workshop put together by Hogan Lovells’ Ladder to Law Programme. We were given insight into the many jobs which were attainable in Commercial Law, and what it actually took to have a promising career in this particular field. Although we all took different things from the open day, one belief shines through; the open day was an eye-opener.

Many of us have worked previously with Hogan Lovells, going to multiple in-school workshops held for Years 9-11. There is also a chance for Year 12 and 13 students to apply for an internship at the law firm, blatantly telling us of the many opportunities the law firm offers exclusively to St Martin’s students. It also shows how St Martin’s provide for and nurture their students, providing chances for us to make informed choices and attain greatness, especially as women, with most of us from ethnic backgrounds, we have to work almost twice as hard as other people applying for the same high-paying jobs. Going to places like this amplify our confidence, and solidify the belief that we have the capability and the talent to shine, regardless of our gender and of the colour of our skin. We have a chance to “be the representation that’s not there”.

Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of employees who had recently graduated from university, and other employees who had been at Hogan Lovells for quite some time. They broke down the many jobs in commercial law, some even unheard of like international arbitration. This opened our eyes to what was available to us. We also learned what it took to be successful in any career choice, and the ways in which we can improve our flaws.

One quality that was continually stressed was flexibility. In a demanding career choice like commercial law for example, you have to be willing to adapt and fit into multiple areas of your work, not just one set mold. Another quality was enthusiasm, which can actually be implemented in your secondary school journey now. You should want to do anything offered, to raise your hand up and sign up for everything. Learning and educating does not stop once you leave education; you can always learn something to apply it later on in life, linking to the idea of open-mindedness.

If I had to choose what I found most interesting at Hogan Lovells, it was the amount of pro-bono work everyone at Hogan Lovells does. All employees are required to do a certain amount of charity work helping their community, but what shocked me was the fact they did not do it out of obligation, but because they genuinely cared for their community and the people around them. From helping the Liberian government rebuild the nation’s healthcare system after years of civil war, to helping social entrepreneurs tackle society’s injustices and problems. In modern society, it is so easy to just focus on your own company and the economic or political power it may have, however at Hogan Lovells they care about so much more, which inspired many of us who came on the trip to actively seek out ways to better our community and the people around us, making Ladder to Law programme a success, as it opened our eyes to the current affairs happening around us, and consolidation that the world really is our oyster.

Ladder to Law brochure featuring St Martin's students