A successful Kent Law School mentoring partnership has evolved into a full-time working relationship for Kent alumna Jessica Luu, now working as a paralegal for her mentor Natalie Salunke, VP and Head of Legal at Fleetcor.
Jessica was paired with Natalie for one academic year as a result of her application to the Law School’s Mentoring Scheme. They established their partnership via email before arranging to meet in London.
Jessica said: ‘An important lesson I would say for any partnership is to create strong relations and keep in touch with people. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or get the most out of your time with someone. Many people who have been through what you are going through now are keen on helping others out. So, reach out and remember to stay in touch. I reached out to my mentor and so this was the most important thing that you can do – lawyers are busy, but they are always willing to help.’
After Jessica graduated with a Law LLB degree from Kent in 2017, she moved to London and her mentoring relationship with Natalie continued. She completed a three-month legal internship with Natalie at Fleetcor before being promoted to the role of Paralegal in March.
Jessica said: ‘As we are a relatively small team, I have a lot of responsibility. My days are never the same, I have many different projects I am involved in, including the GDPR project (which is a big one), a few corporate projects and I do many contract reviews. My role is very wide, I deal with matters from liaising with the law firms we work with to managing the database of contracts we hold.’
Jessica is also studying the Legal Practice Course (LPC) part-time at BPP University. In the next five years she hopes to secure a training contract and become a qualified solicitor.
As well as encouraging other aspiring legal professionals at Kent to take advantage of the Law School’s Mentoring Scheme, Jessica urges students to be as active as possible during their studies: ‘Make sure you are going to all the events that you could possibly go to. Take part in things such as the Commercial Awareness Competition by Aspiring Solicitors (I did this with another Kent student and we reached the semi-final stages – we were the last standing Kent team for 2017/2018). I regularly go to Legal Cheek events, Aspiring Solicitors events – they’re all free; the only thing you pay for is the travel, you usually get freebies, drinks and canapés at the end too. Use these events as a networking opportunity and build some good relationships!’
The Mentoring Scheme at Kent comprises more than 100 mentors in seven countries. Mentors, many of whom are Kent Law School alumni, volunteer their time to help students develop their understanding of the legal world. They offer expert advice on CVs, assistance with applications and mock interviews in a bid to help guide their mentees through the application process for both work and study. They work with their mentees over the course of one academic year, from June until the end of the Spring term.
Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone, who coordinates the scheme, said: ‘This is a great way to build a network in law, have your questions answered, get support with applications, understand the profession and achieve success.’
Other previous participants who have attested to the benefits of a mentoring partnership and/or the networking opportunities afforded by the Scheme include:
- Leigh Leach who secured a training contract with a leading law firm in Kent
- Meghan Daniels who gained pupillage less than 18 months after graduating from Kent
- Chantal Cohen who gained a mini pupillage, enhanced networking skills and a two-week work experience placement
- James Mapley who found himself in the enviable position of being able to choose from one of three offers for a training contract
- Patrik Jacobsson who secured work as a trainee with a leading firm of international solicitors
There are still a few spaces left on this year’s Scheme – full details (and an application form) are available on Moodle (see DP1950 Employabilty).
The annual networking evening for mentors and their mentees will take place at the chambers of 7 Bedford Row in London on Wednesday 14 November. Jayne has organised a training event on campus the week before (from 2pm – 4pm on Wednesday 7 November in DLT3), to help mentees make the most of the opportunity to network with leading legal professionals.