Baljinder Singh Atwal

The university gave me so many life skills and abilities which I was completely unaware of until I left as a graduate.

Baljinder poses wearing a blue suit. He wears a red necktie with an orange pocket square.

Graduation year: 2015

Degree title(s): LLB Law

Job title: Solicitor

Employer: West Midlands Police

What does your role involve? As an in-house solicitor for the second largest police force in the country, I am responsible for property and commercial matters. On the property side I deal with commercial leases and licences. On the commercial side I deal with contracts which can range from confidentiality agreements, collaboration agreements, media agreements and more. Being an in-house solicitor can be such a varied role, being in such a large public sector organisation like West Midlands Police makes the role interesting and exciting

Can you describe the journey you went on to get this role? After university I did the LPC and started my training contract immediately after at international law firm Trowers & Hamlins. Once I had completed my training contract I moved firms and qualified at global law firm DLA Piper. After the pandemic in 2019 and having had the taste of the big international law firms, I wanted to have a change in my career. The pandemic made me consider what was important to me and my career going forward. Due to the pandemic there was a recruitment freeze hence I had a chunk of time to consider my next role. I considered several other legal roles including joining the Army and other local government departments. The role with West Midlands Police was exciting and ticked all the boxes for me.

 What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy that everything I do is centred around the community and public benefit. I am proud of my region and have always wanted my career to have a real positive impact to those around me and in my community. Working for West Midlands Police has achieved that. Furthermore as an in-house solicitor I am no longer confined to one area of law or practice area which is exciting and has allowed me to grow as a lawyer and professional.

How did your time at Birmingham help prepare you for this role? The university gave me so many life skills and abilities which I was completely unaware of until I left as a graduate. Being on a large course with a wide range of talented and diverse people allowed me to develop good social skills very early on. Outside of my course I enjoyed the whole host of opportunities available through societies and sport. I played rugby for the Law School and made some great contacts which I would not have met through my lectures and seminars alone. Sport was a great way for me to build confidence and core skills such as teamwork and communication.

Away from my course I attended several society events where I made really good contacts both within my course and outside of my course. I became a committee member of the Sikh Society which allowed me to really develop strong skills around working with others, organising events, social media management and more. During my time as a student I was also a committee member for the Aspiring Solicitors student group. I was involved with a number of other students in sharing and promoting events and initiatives to increase more diversity and equality in the profession. All of my extra-curricular experience gave me the tools to succeed as a graduate

What advice would you give to students interested in getting into your industry or role? With the right amount of dedication and time, any career goal is achievable. Becoming a solicitor felt like a goal I could never achieve as a student, but applying myself and growing as a person I was able to pass every hurdle on the way. Work hard and remain positive in everything that you do. The more difficult a journey or goal is, the more it is worth it. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and keep learning throughout the process.

How did the University of Birmingham help you on your career path? I utilised the careers services early on so I could get expert advice on my CV and career aspirations. The advice I had was really useful and shaped my career journey at an early stage. The service at the university also helped in advertising some exciting roles and opportunities which helped me develop. The specific roles for students were vital in allowing me the opportunity to enhance my skills in professional settings before leaving university as a graduate. These experiences were key in helping me get to the next stage in my career after university - whether that was through practice interviews, paid ambassador roles and more.

How did studying at Birmingham inspire you in your graduate path? Studying at such a prestigious and well known establishment gave me the confidence and ambition to reach my full potential. Studying law was something I always wanted to do, however the next step at university wasn't always clear in my mind as a student. The university had a number of careers fairs, careers support and work opportunities which expanded my vision for my future. Without such a strong offering by the university early on in my academia I don't think I would have been able to achieve my goals.

Why should someone considering their university options come and study with us at Birmingham? The university had a fantastic reputation even before I started studying there, having studied there I would recommend it to any student who has the opportunity. The community and facilities of the university are fantastic and have only grown from strength to strength since I graduated. My degree was a perfect foundation for my career in law and the opportunities I had alongside my studies were incredible in shaping who I am today. If you want to study Law, the University of Birmingham has to be in your shortlist.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the University of Birmingham? A combination of having great people and great opportunities. The positive community amongst the students and staff was really helpful and vital when you are a young person who is developing and learning. The university had a number of fantastic opportunities which allowed me to grow as an academic and a person.

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