Laura Izquierdo: from Bristol graduate to Watson Farley & Williams Trainee Solicitor.

A picture of Laura Izquierdo

Laura Izquierdo is a 2014 Bristol graduate who studied Law at Bristol, she is now a trainee solicitor at Watson Farley & Williams.

We caught up with her to hear about her career journey so far and top tips she has for students considering a career in law.

My career journey

“Why do you want to pursue a career in law?” is a question all law students (and many from other disciplines) will have been asked; when you applied to study law at university, when you applied for vacation schemes and training contracts, or by your great-aunt at the Christmas party, who couldn’t believe you would voluntarily opt for a legal career. And it’s not an easy question to answer – at least, it wasn’t for me.

I studied a bachelor’s degree in law at The University of Bristol, after pursuing sciences at A’ Level. I was a typical case of “I like biology but blood isn’t an option,” so I wanted to pursue a career that wasn’t medicine, and law seemed like a similarly respectable and completely new challenge that would open many doors – a career in law being just one of many.

Thankfully, I really enjoyed the LLB. A bachelor’s in law isn’t a requirement for pursuing a career in law (so, don’t be discouraged if you’re studying something else), but the LLB gave me valuable insight into different areas of law, and helped me to develop skills that I have already put into practice after two months as a trainee – case analysis, drafting, and critical analysis, to name just a few. But as a student, I wasn’t yet completely convinced I wanted to become a solicitor or a barrister.


A career in law can have a very linear trajectory. As a student, I mistakenly thought that becoming a solicitor wouldn’t give me the flexibility I was looking for. Geographical mobility was a big priority for me; I didn’t want to commit to living in England for the rest of my career, and I wrongfully assumed that qualifying as a solicitor here would mean I’d have to stay forever (since the law varies from country to country).

I was also under the impression that becoming a solicitor was a “now or never” situation. Which it isn’t. By the time I was in my second year, it seemed like everybody around me was applying for vacation schemes and training contracts. But whilst I was enjoying my degree, I was eager to experience different opportunities too. I studied a master’s in something completely different in Brussels, I worked in sales briefly, before becoming a Business Analyst at a management consulting firm in Madrid. Only then did I decide I wanted to study the LPC/LLM and train to become a solicitor.


These experiences gave me the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people and better understand what it is that I do and don’t want from a career. I spoke to lawyers, both inside and outside of England, who confirmed that there are actually many opportunities to work internationally as an English-qualified lawyer – especially if you work for a global firm like WFW.

So, I would encourage all students to network broadly. Speak to solicitors at different levels in their careers, at different firms, in different practice areas, and if you can, in different countries. I would even encourage you to speak with people in different professions; understanding how different sectors operate and how they interact with the legal sector is all part of building good commercial acumen.

LinkedIn is a good way to do this: 

  • Set up an account and reach out to people who you think are in a good position to answer your questions.
  • Avoid sending long messages that solicit a detailed and lengthy response. Instead, briefly introduce yourself, explain in one/two lines why you’re interested in speaking with them, and ask whether they have any availability over the coming week, for you to give them a quick call.
  • If/when they say yes, make sure you’ve prepared a list of questions in advance, and ensure they’re not queries you can easily resolve yourself with a quick Google.
  • Beyond that, attending law fairs is a helpful way of networking with people in the sector.
  • To build a picture of what a career in the law is like in general, listening to relevant podcasts and signing up to newsletters can be really helpful.

Top tips

Whether you’re applying for vacation schemes and/or training contracts as a student, recent graduate, or you’re someone with experience in a different sector, make sure you can:

  • Explain your motivation for becoming a solicitor
  • Explain why you’re interested in the firm you’re applying to and/or the sectors the firm works in, and
  • Articulate how you can use your skills to add value to the firm in the role you’re applying to.

If you’re worried you don’t have enough work experience, try to get some. I appreciate it’s easier said than done. Think creatively and identify how the skills you’ve learned in other areas (including school, extra-curricular activities, university, hobbies) are transferable to the role. Again, to do this, it helps to understand the role you’re applying for in greater depth, so I reiterate my abovementioned suggestion: network!

If you’re applying as someone with prior experience, don’t be discouraged by the fact it wasn’t in law. Many of the skills I developed in management consulting transfer into a career as a solicitor: researching, project management, building relationships with clients, for example. The way in which they apply will differ, but don’t think you’re starting from scratch. You’ll do great!

To find out more about Watson Farley & Williams graduate opportunities visit their website.

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