To mark the launch of our Future Legal Mind competition for 2016, we spoke to Lukas Hamilton Eddy, one of our 2015 winners, about starting his career, his placement with Colemans-ctts and looking at things with a fresh perspective.
Lukas Hamilton Eddy, Future Legal Mind 2015 winner
What have you been up to since winning the award?
I successfully completed the BPTC, and I was called to the bar in the summer. I've just started working as a County Court advocate for a national company called Quest. I'm travelling around a lot and I'm enjoying it very much - it's a lot of fun.
What impact did winning the £5,000 prize have on your finances?
I think it has had a positive impact on my whole life really. It's nice to come out of a period of very long study with something in the bank - some security.
When you enter the workplace, very quickly you've got a lot of costs which fall upon you, so to have a little flexibility to be able to take care of those costs and not worry in that regard is a very nice thing.
Future Legal Mind 2015 winners and judges, left to right: Jonathan White, Legal Director, National Accident Helpline; Richard Simmons, Editor, Lawyer 2B; Amy Loughery, winner, Future Legal Mind; Russell Atkinson, CEO, National Accident Helpline; Lukas Hamilton Eddy, winner, Future Legal Mind; Professor Gary Slapper, global professor, New York University; Janet Tilley, Director of Volume Legal Services, Simpson Millar (incorporating Colemans-ctts)
Has winning the award helped boost your employment prospects?
I've been asked about it in almost every interview I've had, so I think that shows you the very positive effect that it's had. I certainly think it is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
It's very, very hard getting into the legal profession, and I can't overstate how important things like this are in terms of giving people the chance to get a pat on the back and get a boost from it.
A lot of applicants are faced with a vast amount of rejection, and I include myself in that. The more opportunities like this that exist for law students the better.
How did your work placement at Colemans-ctts go?
I really enjoyed it. It was great to travel around and get to see other parts of the country and do the grand tour of the Colemans and the Simpson Millar offices [Colemans-ctts is now part of Simpson Millar, which is providing the work placements for the 2016 award].
Most of the placement was spent using what I had trained for on the bar course, including reading through cases and then discussing them with the solicitors. I would give my thoughts on each case, what I thought was lacking and what we could get in terms of other evidence. We'd also discuss what the different approaches might be and the chance for success. That was very enjoyable for me to do as I was using the skills that I've developed over the last few years, reading over cases and giving that outside perspective. I really enjoyed it.
Do you feel that the placement was valuable to your development?
Definitely. It was really interesting to talk to a number of solicitors about how they word and structure claim forms, to have that strategic insight that you don't necessarily get on the official bar course. That was definitely something that I took from it in terms of writing my own claim forms in the future. How can we make this claim form as strong as possible?
What advice would you give to students entering Future Legal Mind this year?
Instead of saying what has been said before, think about what hasn't been said before - take a fresh approach to something. What I still like about the essay I wrote is that to a certain extent it accepts the status quo, but it tries to find solutions within that, and I think that comes back to looking at things with a fresh perspective.