Solicitor, London

While completing my GCSEs, I took part in a magistrates mock trial which I won. From then on, I wanted to become a criminal barrister. I later decided against the barrister route and set my sights on becoming a solicitor instead. I was the first person in my immediate family to go to university. I did not know any lawyers, so I networked and sought out work shadowing opportunities to gain insight into the profession. Through lawyers I met at networking events, I secured two work experience schemes at international law firms. These experiences reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in law.

Ruth Mikka

I learned about the Law Society’s diversity access scheme through an alumnus of the scheme. Having completed my law degree, I was certain that I wanted to be a solicitor. But I was yet to secure a training contract, so the scheme sounded like an amazing opportunity to continue my journey to qualification. I applied immediately. The scheme offered a full scholarship to study the LPC, alongside providing work experience opportunities and a mentor. The application process included a form with various questions about my motivation for applying, as well as an essay question to test skills such as communication and research. This was followed by a panel interview, with questions about my motivation and skills, and a discussion about the essay I had written. Interestingly, the topic set for the essay related to the right to freedom of speech versus the right to privacy, which is one of the key areas of work covered in my current role as an in-house media lawyer at the BBC. No doubt the DAS scheme played a huge role in enabling me to be where I am today.

'I have been lucky enough to be mentored by three amazing mentors. I am therefore a big advocate for mentorship, as I have seen how impactful a good mentoring relationship can be'

Aside from obtaining a full scholarship to study the LPC, which I would not have been able to afford unaided, DAS ran a mentoring programme. I was paired up with a mentor who was a partner working in private practice. As a black female aspiring solicitor, I had not met many female lawyers from ‘ethnic minority’ backgrounds let alone those in such senior positions. So it was really inspiring for me to hear about my mentor’s journey into law and to know that, as someone from a diverse background, this was a career in which, with hard work and dedication, I too could be successful. Practically, she supported me with various training contract applications, including doing mock interviews with me, which really improved my confidence.

I have been lucky enough to be mentored by three amazing mentors who I was able to learn a great deal from. I am therefore a big advocate for mentorship, as I have seen first-hand how impactful a good mentoring relationship can be on both your professional and personal life. I am keen to pay this forward and have recently begun mentoring a student hoping to pursue law.  

Following my degree, I was uncertain about which area of law I wanted to practise. But I was keen to gain some work experience and transferrable skills. Among other roles, I worked as a housing law adviser in the higher education sector, which gave me experience of advising clients facing difficult situations, as well as of communicating with a wide range of people. One of the things I enjoyed about the role was working within a small team, as it meant that I got to work on cases independently, and was therefore able to learn a lot within a short time.

I joined the BBC as a trainee solicitor in 2021. The BBC offered four six-month seat rotations with the opportunity to be seconded to a City firm. I sat in commercial rights and business affairs, employment, IP and completed a litigation seat at Fieldfisher. It was amazing to have the opportunity to support editorial teams on programmes I had long been a fan of, whether by drafting programme production agreements or providing copyright or trade mark advice.  

On qualification, I joined the litigation team which, among other things, handles the BBC’s media and commercial disputes work. This includes defamation, privacy, reporting restrictions, contempt of court and handling police requests for BBC material under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. While it can be challenging, the matters we work on are very interesting and it feels rewarding to work in a team which directly supports the BBC’s editorial work. Aside from the work, I also enjoy occasional celebrity spotting outside our London offices.