How I qualified as a solicitor with Co-op Legal Services

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Trainee Solicitor, Nathan Smith, shares his career journey from Legal Assistant to Case Manager while completing his Legal Practice Course (LPC).

Nathan Smith, Trainee Solicitor at Co-op

Relocating to pursue my dream

I decided I wanted to be a solicitor after being inspired at a Black and Minority Ethnic careers fair when I was 15 years old. I worked hard, followed my dream, and went off to university to study law. 

I knew that I wanted to do the LPC to further my legal career, but I was also keen to get some practical experience alongside my studies. I came across a Legal Assistant role at Co-op and decided that Bristol would be a great city to relocate to. I successfully applied for the job, and arranged to study my LPC on a part-time basis in Bristol. 

Finding the balance

After only a few months in the role I found that my day-to-day experience was supporting me with my LPC assessments. I began assisting a Trainee Solicitor in the probate team, and I learned all kinds of valuable skills, from managing customer relationships to selling foreign shareholdings. 

There are lots of opportunities for career progression at Co-op. A year into my journey I felt the time was right to take on some additional responsibility, so I applied for a Case Manager role in the estate administration team. Thankfully I was successful, and although it was hard-work managing my new role and my studies, I soon found the right balance and before I knew it I’d completed my LPC!  

Coming full circle 

Soon after finishing my LPC, I had the opportunity to apply for a training contract. I’d loved my time at Co-op and was eager to continue my career journey in the business. Following an interview and assessment, I was offered a Trainee Solicitor role. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement! 

During this time, I also became a Diversity and Inclusion Pioneer. My Christian faith teaches me to treat others as I would want to be treated, and as a D&I Pioneer I’m able to live those values and help build a more inclusive culture at Co-op Legal Services. Being one of the few Caribbean colleagues in the team, I’ve also really valued the opportunity to be a role model and inspire others – just like I had been inspired at 15.

Having now been here for 5 years, I’m looking forward to qualifying as a solicitor in the new year. I’ve had the chance to explore different practice areas which has given me great exposure and a depth of experience – fantastic foundations on which I’m hoping to build a lengthy legal career at Co-op Legal Services.

Written by Nathan Smith, Trainee Solicitor. 

To find out more about Co-op and apply to their available roles please visit their BYP job board  here.

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