Sep 23, 2021

Written By Billy Sexton

My Story: Dimitris Maroudas, BCLP

Sep 23, 2021

Written By Billy Sexton

Dimitris Maroudas is a Future Trainee and member of the BCLP LGBTQ* Emerging Talent group. In this article they discuss how they broke into a career in the law and how the legal world is advancing in relation to diversity and inclusion. 

In a few words, provide a brief summary of your career so far.

I grew up and completed high school in Greece, before moving to the UK for university. I studied Law at UCL, from which I graduated in 2020. I have now finished the LPC at the University of Law and will be commencing my Training Contract at BCLP in March 2022. 

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At what point in your life did you decide a career in commercial law was the path you wanted to pursue?

My decision to pursue a career in commercial law was only solidified in my second year at UCL. In fact, before that point, I actively sought out other career options as I did not want my choice to study law to limit my exploration of other professional interests. For that reason, I completed internships in sectors such as financial services or food and beverages.

However, after exploring the prospects of a legal career extensively, through legal internships in Greece, insight schemes, and vacation schemes in London, I became confident that a legal career is the path for me. I was drawn to how advising on deals involves obtaining a commercial understanding of the needs of the client, in addition to the intellectual stimulus provided by solving complex legal issues, thereby offering a bigger learning curve. Furthermore, I enjoyed completing typical trainee tasks and was attracted to the team-focused nature of the role, especially when it occurs within an international network. 

Pursuing a career in law is difficult enough without additional hurdles to overcome and barriers to breakdown. Can you please describe difficulties you encountered and how you overcame them?

Breaking into law can be overwhelming. I remember just moving to the UK, barely understanding the difference between a solicitor and a barrister, and receiving invitations to networking events with firms during the first week of classes. As the first person in my family to pursue an education outside of Greece, and moreover a career within the professional services industry, it was daunting. I had no insight into the application process nor the legal profession itself, and at those initial stages, it was challenging to get any work experience. On top of that, constantly comparing myself to my peers only augmented the feeling that I was not enough. 

I realised soon enough that I needed to start by looking inwards. Recognising that everyone is on their own path, and despite appearances may suggest otherwise, that everyone is facing similar challenges, was crucial. I also quickly understood that I should not be hesitant about looking outwards for support and guidance. Reaching out to friends and older students who had recently been in my shoes and utilising any resources provided by the student law society, the university careers service, or online platforms was immensely useful. Finally, it was important for me to realise that there was not one single way to succeed in the recruitment process. Speaking to firms, I saw that the focus was more on acquiring transferrable skills than on completing specific types of internships. This allowed me to pursue experiences and past-time activities that I enjoyed, building up the confidence in myself that ultimately led me where I am today.

How do you think that diversity in the legal profession is improving? And in your opinion, what steps will still need to be made?

It is no secret that significant strides have been made with diversity in the legal industry. Active diversity networks are now woven into the fabric of law firms, diverse candidates are sought after in the recruitment process, policies are becoming transparent, and the statistics are improving. Where some years ago young lawyers may have had to conceal or ‘tone down’ parts of themselves, I felt encouraged to embrace my identity as a gay man every step of the way in the application process, and now as a future trainee solicitor. 

However, it is also no secret that a lot more work can be done. As we are evolving, needs might change; even though the goals and diversity targets of a year ago may have been achieved, they do not necessarily represent the needs of today. It is therefore important that firms remain vigilant and are attentive to the needs of diverse groups. Also, critical evaluation is crucial. Rather than piloting a dozen different initiatives, which can give the impression that diversity becomes a marketing strategy, firms need to carefully review their policies, see which aspects work and which do not, and ensure that they remain engaged with the former. Finally, attracting a diverse pool of talent of young professionals is as important as seeing diversity in senior circles in firms. For junior lawyers, being able to identify with diverse people at all levels of the organisation provides a powerful example of the possibility of advancement.  

Where do you ideally see yourself in the next five years?

I do not necessarily have a fixed five-year plan for my personal and professional life. I can, however, envision myself working in an organisation where I feel valued, in a team that I am happy to be a part of, working on international transactions and potentially having even worked at an overseas location for some time. I also hope I am at a good stage in my career where I see possibility for advancement, and I feel supported in pursuing that advancement. I also hope I will have obtained, or will be in the process of obtaining, another degree in an academic area that complements my career. Most importantly, I see myself in a place where I love what I am doing, and the work excites me. 

On a more personal note, I also hope that I will have gotten to travel to every continent by that point. I have wanted to travel around south-east Asia specifically for years now and never got around to it. Having a dog in London would also be a plus!

If you could only give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?

I would tell my 18-year-old self to stop worrying about what everyone around me is doing and stressing out by comparing myself to others. I would remind myself to be confident in my abilities, appreciate that everyone has a different journey, and focus on the short-term and enjoying university rather than extensively trying to plan my entire future.  

BCLP is a proud supporter of the AllAboutLaw Employability Programme for LGBTQ+ students, and disabled students.

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