Shivanjli Rajput

Shivanjli Rajput | Eric Robinson Solicitors

I am 29 years old and a Family Law Solicitor (5 years Post Qualification Experience). I graduated with First Class Honours in my Law degree and a Distinction in my Legal Practice Course, before being trained by a Deputy District Judge at a Legal 500 firm. I have personally dealt with hundreds of family law cases during the past 7 years, ranging from straight-forward divorces to complex children and financial matters with an international element, and I have had the privilege of helping many people in difficult situations. I am currently working for Eric Robinson Solicitors in the new Richmond upon Thames office, which is the firm’s 10th branch and their first venture into London.

I joined the firm when the Richmond office opened, so I have been responsible for creating a caseload organically. I have been actively involved in the business development for the office, attending regular networking events and giving presentations in the community on legal issues, including a presentation on Female Genital Mutilation to a group of 50 women and a presentation to law students at The Law Society on my life as a family lawyer.

My goal is to become one of the youngest Deputy District Judges in England and Wales, whilst also continuing my private practice as a family law solicitor.

Whilst I was studying for my degree, I set up my own business called “Milkshake Magic” as a way of funding myself through university. I offered party planning services, focusing on magic, contemporary party games and balloon modelling. I ran the business and also performed at all the events. I was booked to perform at Johnny Depp’s son’s 5th birthday party, as well as charity events, large corporate events, local Borough events, schools and private parties. Although I have now stopped running the business, it vastly improved my leadership, organisation, business development and communication skills, which I have successfully transferred over to my current role as a solicitor.

Outside of work, I am a former World Karate Champion, having represented England in several national and international competitions. I won the WKC World Championships in Germany in 2006 and I am a Second Dan black belt.

Coleen Mensa

Coleen Mensa | EY

Coleen is a trainee solicitor at one of the “Big 4” accountancy firms Ernst & Young (EY)

Coleen is passionate about self-development and career progression. Above all, her interests lie in helping others, who, like herself come from humble beginnings to reach their full potential.

In 2015, Coleen started began sharing her journey of navigating the legal profession on popular website Lawcareers.Net. This led to her winning the Legal Cheek award for “Best use of Social Media for her videos. Coleen is also a frequent writer for the Guardian predominantly focusing on advice for getting into law.

Coleen is the co-founder of Power up, an initiative designed to help individuals get into their chosen career paths which is sponsored by Google and Gaucho.

Coleen was also named as an inspirational woman by Ernst & Young and has a video on the EY website about her journey.
Coleen often gives up her time to mentor others and is a regular public speaker. She has spoken at a variety of universities, schools, FTSE 250 companies and motivational events.

Rosie Watterson

Rosie Watterson | Herbert Smith Freehills

It is easy for me to envision a world where I did not get offered a training contract.

I’m from a non-law background. I’m one of the first members of my family to go to university. I have a Northern accent. An upper-limb deficiency. I was state-school educated and have poor A Levels.

And for years, I had absolutely no idea how to write a good application.

However, I was very fortunate. I found a career mentor who invested a lot of time in me, and I was guided through the application process by Aspiring Solicitors. Without these two influences, I doubt whether I’d be a future trainee at Herbert Smith Freehills.

This realisation is what motivated me to create Apply.Shine.Win. It is a blog that aims to provide practical and encouraging advice to students applying for training contracts. It covers everything from making applications through to performing well at vacation schemes, with some interviews, examples and anecdotes thrown in for good measure.

My hope is that by making this information available to everybody, students from underrepresented groups will feel more confident during the recruitment process and find it easier to access the legal profession.

Kayleigh Leonie

Kayleigh Leonie | TandonHildebrand

I grew up in Jersey in the Channel Islands before moving to England to go to University in 2005. I was the first person in my family to go to University. Following graduation, I successfully secured a training contract at a firm in Brighton. Prior to commencing this, I spent a year working for a law firm in Jersey and then attended law school in London.

To build a successful legal network in Brighton, I was a founding committee member of the Sussex Junior Lawyers Division (JLD). The JLD gave me a fantastic platform from which to share my experiences of working in the legal profession with other junior lawyers and acted as a support network. Once I qualified as a solicitor in 2012, I moved to a firm in Kent to specialise in employment law and became an executive committee member of the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society of England and Wales. In 2015 I was delighted to be elected as a Council Member of the Law Society of England and Wales to represent junior lawyers with up to five years' post-qualification experience. In 2016 I joined an international London firm and undertook a secondment in–house to a global accountancy firm's HR department. As someone who struggled with anxiety during secondary school, university and whilst at law school, I enjoyed the opportunity that this secondment gave me to support a number of employees who were experiencing physical and mental health issues.

As a Council Member, I was keen to focus on supporting junior lawyers with mental health issues and to help those experiencing high levels of stress at work. To ascertain the extent of this amongst junior lawyers, I conducted a survey in 2017 which received over 200 responses. One of the key statistics from the survey showed that junior lawyers did not think that there was enough support for those struggling with the demands of the profession, causing stress and mental health issues. As a result, I have worked on a number of different initiatives to try to provide more resources and support to junior lawyers and their firms, and this is something about which I am passionate.

I have since joined a small employment team in a firm in the City and I sit on its Diversity Committee and Physical and Mental Wellbeing Network. I am also a Wellbeing Mentor for my firm. I am shortly about to start a new role with a small start-up legal and business advisory, TandonHildebrand, where I hope to try something different in the legal profession by working in a new way. I am hoping to be able to develop my practice more on mental health and wellbeing in the legal profession and am excited about the opportunities that this new venture will offer.

Victoria Anderson

Victoria Anderson | Carter-Ruck

Victoria is a solicitor in Carter-Ruck's commercial litigation team and the CEO of youth engagement and social mobility charity, Big Voice London.

After completing her education at a state school and sixth form college, Victoria graduated with a first class in law from the University of Exeter and later obtained an LLM in International Commercial Law from the same university, graduating with a distinction at the top of her class.

Having trained and qualified at Carter-Ruck, Victoria has gained experience in both commercial and media matters and has assisted in proceedings in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She has assisted in the Claimants’ legal teams in Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd (a libel and harassment trial which led to the first ever publication order under s.12 of the Defamation Act 2013 and a damages award of £185,000) and PJS v News Group Newspapers (the first case in which the Supreme Court has given judgment on an interim application restraining a breach of privacy).

Victoria is also extremely passionate about improving diversity in the legal profession. Alongside her work at Carter-Ruck, Victoria is also the CEO of Big Voice London, a social mobility charity which seeks to engage young people from non-traditional backgrounds in law and legal policy. Big Voice London runs projects for young people each year, including: a Mooting Competition in association with the UK Supreme Court and the country's only Model Law Commission.