A positive, nurturing and supportive community is at the heart of Stortfordian Foundation activities and we are thrilled to be able to share an inspirational mentoring success story between OS Abby Westell (BH,YH, 95-00) & OS Megan Brown (NH,AH, 11-18) which has lead to a very mutually beneficial outcome.
I felt inspired to write this article following my recent positive experience with The Stortfordian Foundation, which enabled me to connect with other Old Stortfordians to receive invaluable career guidance and support.
I left Bishop’s Stortford College in 2018 to study Law at the University of Bristol, which confirmed my desire to pursue a career as a solicitor. After being involved in pro bono work as part of the University of Bristol Law Clinic, I was drawn to family law and began actively searching for job opportunities within this area. Being a first generation university student with no connections in the legal industry, I was keen to get as much guidance on the industry as possible.
In April 2021, I received an email from the Stortfordian Founation inviting me to sign up to the new Stortfordian Foundation Careers Portal. The careers portal offers the opportunity to connect with other OS on a mentoring basis, where OS have agreed to share their experience and provide guidance relating to their respective industries. After narrowing my search to law, I was delighted to see a family solicitor on the platform, this was OS Abby Westell. I reached out to Abby and explained I was eager to pursue a career within family law and she quickly organised a zoom call to discuss this further. I discovered that Abby was working at Rayden Solicitors, a specialist family law firm which had just opened its 5th regional office in Bishop’s Stortford. Abby and I discussed the nature of the work, how to make myself stand out as a training contract applicant, what to highlight on my CV and some general tips on setting out on a career in law.
We also discussed the fact that Rayden Solicitors was recruiting for a paralegal position to start in September. I applied for the position and went through a challenging application process consisting of two written tasks and two interviews. In June, I was notified that I had been offered the paralegal position, coincidentally on the same day that I submitted my final assessment for my law degree.
Fast forward to now, I have successfully graduated from the University of Bristol and just finished my fourth month working at Rayden Solicitors. Since meeting Abby in April, not only was she able to provide advice on my application to Raydens, she has continued to act as a mentor through offering me support in applying for the Legal Practice Course, which I am due to commence in February this year, and advice on progressing my legal career. I am greatly appreciative of Abby for taking the time to help me develop my career and get one step closer to fulfilling my aspirations of becoming a solicitor. Of course, I am ultimately thankful to the Stortfordian Foundation Careers Portal for facilitating this connection and subsequent mentoring relationship.
I feel lucky to be able to work with Abby at a well-respected tier 1 family law firm. My experience at Rayden Solicitors has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, I quickly felt welcomed into the firm and have been consistently involved in new opportunities to develop my career. I hope to train with Rayden Solicitors in the near future and look forward to seeing where my legal career takes me. Thank you to Abby Westell, Rayden Solicitors and the Stortfordian Foundation for all the help and support.
Having worked in London for a number of years and then having moved back to Bishop’s Stortford when starting a family, I wanted to get involved with the College again having been given such wonderful opportunities as a pupil. When I received an email inviting me to set up a profile on the Stortfordian Foundation, I thought it was a good opportunity to see if I could offer any support to other OS. I received a message from Megan and was ready to offer some general guidance on embarking on a career in law.
When she said she was interested in a career in family law in particular and we got talking about the specific skills and attributes required for that area, it became clear to me that Megan, who is very personable, bright and hard-working, would be suited to a career in family law and would fit in very well at Raydens. I was very impressed with how she came across in our Zoom calls and I encouraged her to apply for the role of paralegal, the applications for which are dealt with centrally and not by me. Megan aced her interviews and written exercises and was offered the position within my team at Bishop’s Stortford.
As a firm, we place huge importance on immersing ourselves in the local community and providing help and support where we can. As an employer, I am grateful to the Stortfordian Foundation for having initiated the platform as on this occasion, the help has very much worked both ways!
We are hugely grateful to Megan and Abby for sharing their OS mentoring journey, If you have been inspired by Abby & Megan's positive mentoring experience, please sign up here to join our growing mentoring community on the careers section of the portal.
If you are starting out on your career journey or perhaps looking to make some new and valuable connections to take a change in direction you can follow Megan's lead and seek a mentor on the Foundation portal careers page here.
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