28 Jan Christianah’s journey
Christianah is a graduate who studied the LLB at City, University of London and was a member of the Coram’s Fields Employability Scheme. She is now a Mentor at Coram’s Fields and happily works as Paralegal at Payne Hicks Beach Family department alongside her own previous Mentor, Emily Foy. The recently appointed Paralegal couldn’t be happier or more thrilled with how things have worked out! As she celebrates her fifth anniversary with her Mentor, she reflects on her journey as a former Mentee at Payne Hicks Beach.
My name is Christianah, I studied my LLB degree at City, University of London. I live in Essex with my family, consisting of my Nigerian-born parents and two elder siblings. In my spare time, I enjoy running, going to the gym and blogging about contemporary topics.
During my time at university, I was an active committee member of the university’s Law Society and often organised career events for the LLB cohort with magic-circle and silver-circle firms.
Coram’s Fields is a charity situated on Guilford Street, in the heart of London between King’s Cross and Holborn. I got involved in Coram’s Fields Youth Centre at the tender age of 17 when I was initially an active member of the youth club and had produced some work in the Creative Art Space. Once Dershe Shah (the Employability Scheme Manager) became aware of my desire to study Law at university, she enrolled me in the Coram’s Fields Employability Scheme, the rest is history!
Before meeting Dershe; I was all over the place. I didn’t know what I wanted to do career wise and although I considered studying Law, I didn’t have any legal work experience. Luckily, on the Coram’s Fields scheme, I was provided with an inspiring, encouraging Mentor who encouraged me to apply for mini-pupillages and vacation schemes and eventually I graduated with a strong 2.1 in Law. As well as being supportive the whole way through, Dershe has been instrumental in building my CV over the years; she has helped to restructure the layout, helped to pinpoint what legal employers are looking for which has enabled me to sell myself in the best way possible. The CV I had in 2015 is completely different to the one I have now and it’s all thanks to her.
In 2015, I was happily paired up with Emily Foy on the scheme. Emily is a Senior Associate in the Family Department at Payne Hicks Beach where I now work. As an undergraduate, having a Mentor was extremely helpful as if I needed help I always had someone to turn to. Emily helped me to identify the skills and expertise I needed to succeed as a lawyer by helping me look critically at my talents and how best to sell them in the field of law. A Mentor also helps you stay focused and on track in your career and education through sound advice, skills development, networking opportunities and constructive feedback. As an individual coming from a disadvantaged background, having Emily as a Mentor helped me expand my knowledge of the legal profession, I was also able to interact with other professionals and learn new ways of thinking that helped to advance my career.
My Mentor has taught me numerous things but the most important thing she has instilled in me is confidence. Before this scheme, although I wanted to study Law, I was apprehensive about pursuing a career in the legal profession because I didn’t know anyone in the profession thus I wasn’t well connected. This had an impact on my confidence. However, this mentorship has not only allowed me to make connections with people in the legal sphere but having Mentors opens a gateway to the profession that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It also reassured me that the profession isn’t a scary place to be and that I had every chance of making a success of a career in law, if I wanted one.
I currently work as a Paralegal in family law, one of the firm’s busiest and most high profile departments. My role typically involves managing my caseload, assisting fee-earners with complex cases, drafting court applications, preparing disclosure statements, carrying out precedent and research work, sitting in on client meetings and typing up detailed meeting notes. The next step for me now is to undertake the LPC and hopefully apply for a training contract. I have already started looking into the former and I am very excited to embark on this journey into Family Law. This is all thanks to Dershe and the Employability Scheme and I would encourage anyone to take up this opportunity.
Watch Christianah speak about her mentorship below!