In April, ILSPA announced that top-ranked multidisciplinary law firm Joelson offered exclusive mentoring to a small selection of lucky ILSPA Students. The mentoring scheme, which takes place over a 12-month period, includes a day in the Joelson office each month, Q&A sessions with the secretarial team and other members of the firm, one to one contact with Joelson Legal Secretaries, and much more.
After a rigorous application process, we are pleased to introduce you to the two successful applicants for the scheme, Ashleigh Almeyda and Rachel Hoar.
We spoke to Ashleigh and Rachel about what made them apply for the scheme, how they found the application process and what it was like visiting the firm for the first time.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and your career so far?
Ashleigh - I have always had a keen interest in law from a young age since completing a work experience placement at my local Magistrates court at the age of fourteen. Currently I am a third year Criminology and Psychology undergraduate as well as studying with ILSPA to become a qualified Legal Secretary. Most recently I shadowed a Legal Adviser in a Magistrates court and it was then that I explored administrative roles within the legal sector. I currently work part time in hospitality however I aspire to pursue a career as a Legal Secretary on completion of my studies.
Rachel - I have been based in an office for roughly seven years working in an educational setting for children. I was fortunate that some of the office skills I have learnt cross over in to a legal environment. I found ILSPA and enrolled on the Legal Secretary course in the hope of developing my skills and making myself employable within a legal firm. I really liked that I could fit my studying around my other responsibilities, my current work and my children.
What, in your opinion, are the greatest benefits of being part of the mentoring scheme?
Ashleigh - I think that the greatest benefits of the mentoring scheme will be that I will be able to gain hands on experience by practising everything that I have learned on the course so far. I think that working with Joelson will give me a great insight into what it is like to work within a professional and fast paced legal environment where I can also learn new skills from those around me. Being a full-time undergraduate means that I am currently unable to work full time, however being a mentee with Joelson offers me a more flexible approach to gain experience as a Legal Secretary.
Rachel - I am so thrilled to have the chance to work with an esteemed firm such as Joelson. Being new to Law and now having completed the Secretarial course, what I lack is work experience. Being part of the mentoring scheme will give me an invaluable opportunity to gain hands on experience working alongside the secretarial teams in an established firm, while also gaining career advice and support with my CV.
How do you feel your studies with ILSPA and the scheme complement each other?
Ashleigh - I believe my ILSPA studies and the mentoring scheme complement each other because I am able to utilise my studies as a foundation and apply it to real cases whilst working with Joelson. With my studies with the ILSPA teaching me how to carry out the tasks expected of a Legal Secretary, the mentoring scheme with Joelson will enable me to network with likeminded individuals and become more confident in carrying out tasks more independently further supporting my learning.
Rachel - The course gives an excellent foundation of knowledge and practical skills linked to the role of being a Legal Secretary. I think the mentoring scheme goes hand in hand with the course as it allows you to put the knowledge and practical assessments in to practice reinforcing all of the processes.
Can you tell us about the interview process with Joelson?
Ashleigh - The interview process for the mentoring scheme took place via Zoom where I was interviewed by a partner of the firm as well as a Legal Secretary, both of whom are now my main points of contact throughout the mentoring scheme. I was introduced to the general structure of the mentoring scheme and explained my career aspirations and personal goals. Following the online interview I was regularly updated on details about the scheme and my application process via email.
Rachel - I submitted my CV and covering letter for the scheme. The interview process was relaxed. I had a chat via Teams with the scheme organiser who is a Legal Secretary and also her colleague who is a Partner of the firm. They wanted to know my motivations for joining the scheme and that I was committed to making the most of the opportunity.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you were successful?
Ashleigh - When I first found out that I was successful I was shocked but also excited and eager to know when my first day working with Joelson would be.
Rachel - When I found out I had been accepted on to the scheme I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and happy that my hard work had paid off. Since enrolling with ILSPA at the start of 2021, I feel I have come a long way. Everything seems to be falling in to place and I feel really positive for the future.
Can you tell us a bit about your first day at Joelson?
Ashleigh - My first day of Joelson began with an introduction to the scheme where I met a fellow mentee and I was given a welcome pack including what I can expect to learn from the scheme. I was introduced to the team who were all very welcoming and friendly. On my first day I learnt about registered addresses and how to use the Companies House website. I assisted in certifying documents as well as printing and scanning documents.
Rachel - My first day with Joelson was really enjoyable and I was made to feel very welcome. During the scheme I will be working with each of the Secretarial teams assisting where I can. My first session was with the property team. It was good to meet some of the Secretaries in person and get a feel for Joelson as a legal firm. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the sessions over the 12 months and hopefully in the near future I can start looking for Legal Secretary jobs.
ILSPA would like to congratulate both Ashleigh and Rachel on being chosen for Joelson’s Mentoring Scheme. We wish you the best of luck and know you will have a fantastic and hugely beneficial experience.
ILSPA will continue to keep our Members up to date with information about Joelson’s Mentoring Scheme for 2022 in our upcoming journals.