From work experience student to Partner

With Rollits’ work experience scheme currently in full flow, we had a chat with Partner Libby Clarkson about her career journey.

Born and bred locally to Hull, Libby Clarkson studied her law degree at the University of Hull and undertook work experience at Rollits as an undergrad in 2010. Fast forward to today and Libby is still working at the law firm and has seen her career progress rapidly, leading to her becoming a Partner in May 2022.

“It’s good to have the first cohort of 2023 work experience students in our offices at the moment,” said Libby. “The second cohort then joins us for another fortnight in the middle of July. This year we have thirteen students in total. All of them are in either their second or third year of their studies and following their work experience they can apply for a training contract at Rollits, which will start in September 2025.”

Libby told us that she undertook her work experience placement just after the recession, which was a time when multiple students were applying for each placement:

“It was very daunting as work experience and training contracts were difficult to get – there was a lot of pressure and Rollits was my first experience of a regional firm, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was very fortunate to be offered a training contract with them as the firm is very different from the stereotype of law firms. Rollits is extremely friendly, hosts frequent events for its employees, and the open-plan offices mean that everyone works collaboratively.”

Caroline Neadley is the firm’s Training Principal and Libby works alongside her to recruit students for the summer vacation scheme. This involves deciding which students to offer placements to and organising an exciting programme of activities for the work experience participants to engage with.

Libby said: “The aim of the placement is to show prospective trainees that Rollits is not just a law firm, it’s a business, so we also host talks to the students about the IT, marketing and accounts functions of the firm, as well as addressing the importance of our environmental responsibility, community engagement, and how we operate on a wider level. When you become a lawyer you’re in charge of your own workload but that’s not where it ends, as you’re also involved in everything from marketing to mentoring. There’s a lot more involved than what you expect when you’re at law school.”

Libby has now been a Partner for just over a year, which comes with numerous responsibilities:

“Partners look after the business in many ways. Within my department, I’m responsible for mentoring and supervising my team, organising training, offering support to the wider department, assisting with the work experience programme, and marketing and development for the team and the firm. 

“As part of the work experience programme, we ensure the students gain a genuine feel for what it’s like being a trainee at Rollits and they understand what a training contract would involve. During their two weeks here, they get to deliver a pitch, give presentations, undertake trainee work and receive feedback, and attend a variety of talks. It’s a rich and rewarding programme that offers genuine value to every student.”

The end of this month is the closing date for applications for Rollits’ Period of Recognised Training (Training Contract) to start in September 2025.  This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a solicitor.

If you’re interested in a career at Rollits, please visit their Work Experience, Training Contracts and Opportunities pages.