Daphne McRae, LLB English and Law Student
If I were to ask you to guess how many law-related societies there were at Queen Mary, how many would you say? Two maybe? Three? Definitely no more than four. Well my friend, there are NINE.
Have a look for yourself – there’s no shortage of opportunities to get involved in student life. As they’re all fairly self-explanatory, I’ll stick to describing the one I’m most involved in: Women Working in Law (WWL). It’s Queen Mary’s very first ‘Women in Business’ type society, but for legal careers.
Following its creation in the summer of 2013, it’s had astounding success, with yearly workshops by the Training Contract Guru, Gwyn Day, and an exclusive annual event held for members by the Law Society of England and Wales, to name just a few endeavours. The goal behind it is to harness the high-profile women’s initiatives cropping up in the City and bring them to the student body. WWL has secured access for its members to events normally reserved for qualified lawyers, such as a speed-networking event, which then resulted in mentoring opportunities.
Members have had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the most high profile lawyers in the City. WWL has had the graduate recruitment partners from both Linklaters and Slaughter and May speak at events, and even the head of legal at Spanish bank BBVA. It’s not just about the big shots – junior lawyers provide a different but just as valuable insight into their working lives. Many trainee solicitors stay behind after events to chat to members, giving them an invaluable and informal insight into the everyday realities of legal practice.
It’s also not just for women – everyone is welcome to WWL’s events. Granted, a primary focus is helping women reach their full potential, but it’s equally about opening up the dialogue and working with men to achieve a more egalitarian workplace. The United Nations have pioneered this concept with their He for She initiative, so why shouldn’t we? It’s very easy to think that these issues don’t affect university students and needn’t yet be thought about, but with firms targeting students for work experience earlier and earlier, these should be an important and current focus. WWL supports members to ensure they are well prepared to handle whatever comes their way.
Thanks to the tireless work of committees past and present to bring the very best opportunities to students, the society is bigger and more exciting than ever before. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? If you’d like to find out more about WWL, including how to apply to committee positions and information on upcoming events, you can do so via one of the channels below.