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Fireside chat with future trainee solicitor Jessica Price

Fireside chat with future trainee solicitor Jessica Price
Alumnae Senior School

On 1 February, current students interested in Law joined a 'Futures Fireside Chat' with future trainee solicitor, alumna and former Head Girl Jessica Price (Class of 2018) to understand why she decided to follow a career in law, how she secured a training contract and decided on the area of law she would focus on, and why the culture of a law firm matters.  

After A-levels in English Literature, Maths, French and History, Jessica went on to gain a First in English Literature at Durham University and then in 2022 decided to do a law conversion with The University of Law. She is now sponsored to complete her solicitor’s qualifying exams by the law firm Withersworldwide, ranked as one of the best law firms to work for in the UK and where she will officially begin work in 2025.

Students had some interesting questions for her:

How did she decide on law?

Jessica realised that Law was a perfect match for her desire to balance her literacy and numeracy skills - ‘it’s a nice marriage of the two’ which also utilises her problem-solving skills. She was also keen to find a role with a strong client- facing aspect. She recommends ‘following your gut’ to pursue what you enjoy.

What does her day-to-day currently look like?

Self-study is supplemented by three days a week at university which is chance to meet others for support. Jessica says studying for a law conversion is not for the faint-hearted- it’s a real examination culture with a heavy schedule of exams requiring memorisation of a large volume of content, with no option to ‘opt’ out of subjects you don’t plan to specialise in – you have to learn everything! 

Why did she choose to go down the solicitor rather than the barrister route?

She chose the ‘solicitor’ pathway over the ‘barrister’ pathway as the idea of fulfilling a role of a trusted advisor for a client was strongly appealing. She preferred the security and collegiate spirit of a firm as opposed to being self-employed.

What does she think made her a successful candidate for the job?

Jess felt privileged to have completed a degree in a subject she loved which she was then able to build on through her law conversion course. Jessica firmly believes doing an undergrad degree in a subject other than law demonstrates to employers a breadth of interest and a knowledge base outside of Law which can prove useful once in a client setting. 

At university Jessica signed up to a range of societies and newsletters to give herself a broad perspective of live beyond academia – at Durham there was a ‘non-law into law society’ which provided a crucial knowledge base for her.  She believes her subsequent work experience was crucial in enabling her to demonstrate employability skills to differentiate her from other candidates – but she also emphasises that this work can be in any industry, it is the soft skills that count! View applications and interviews as good practice, regardless of their outcome. Talking to people to gain insight into a variety of pathways, roles and firms was also invaluable. Ultimately, she says ‘be someone that other people want to work with’. Can they trust you in front of client? How do you manage a situation when things go wrong?  The ‘O shaped lawyer’ is a ‘well-rounded’ lawyer who places importance not just on a robust knowledge of the law, but of the commercial/business/ social context in which that legal framework operates.

Lara K in Y12 reflected:

 "Given the ever-changing nature of the legal industry, it was really useful to hear from someone closer to my own age about their experiences breaking into the field. In particular, Jessica's guidance on networking through LinkedIn and the WHS alumnae group was very useful. I also really benefited from her advice about how to acquire the soft skills necessary to be considered 'employable' as these can't be acquired simply from learning in a classroom."

Emilie in Y11 added:

"I loved how Jessica explained in depth how she got to where she is now, and what studying law is really like. The main point that I took from the fireside chat, is how Jessica emphasised the importance of speaking to people at different points in their career to learn more about your passion, and making use of connections that you gain throughout your career that could help you in the long run."


Further Information:

Jessica has kindly recommended some resources which she personally found useful, particularly at university level:

  • Legal Cheek is a one stop shop for everything to do with law and written in a really comprehensive and accessible way!


  • Law Careers is good for bringing together all the opportunities in the sector and key deadlines.


  • The Corporate Law Academy offers paid services but their newsletter you can sign up for is good for keeping on the pulse and also I appreciated the forum where you can ask questions to other applicants. 

Alumnae can also use their alumnae networks to find out more:

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Fireside chat with future trainee solicitor Jessica Price