Lewis graduated with an LLB Law in 2012 and is a trainee solicitor at The Partnership in Guildford, specialising in property law. Lewis has undertaken a wide range of voluntary activity for the University, acting as open day ambassador and supporting School of Law and alumni activities and has been awarded one of our UK Volunteers of the Year for 2016 in the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Awards.
How did you feel to win your award?
I had to read the letter twice as I was so surprised – I had no idea beforehand. Having read of the calibre of the other award-winners, I am honoured to be in that company.
Why do you volunteer?
I have always felt passionately about the University, and, as I always felt at home at Surrey, being able to share this with prospective students means that my experiences can be of benefit to someone else. I enjoy helping out at the law speed networking events too – it can be difficult to find out information about all the options available to law students, so an opportunity to talk to a range of people from different areas is a real help to undergraduates.
Not that I volunteer for this reason, but on my CV it showed a certain level of devotion and loyalty which ultimately led to an offer of employment with my law firm in Guildford.
What attracted you to choose Surrey and to study law?
Surrey has great commercial links to my chosen career. The town itself and its close links with London was quite a good incentive. It's a wonderful campus and a place I saw myself being for many years. It has an intimate, family feeling about it. The course itself gave me a good insight into the legal career and allowed me to get involved in the local area both professionally and socially.
What is your strongest memory of Surrey ?
I will always remember my first day. I was alone and had my lunch, and I was able to just join a table with what turned about to be two final-year maths students. The atmosphere of friendliness and openness always stuck with me and I really felt at home here.
What is the one thing you would say about Surrey, or the course you studied, to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?
For someone who doesn’t know about Surrey, or Law at Surrey, I would just say to get stuck in. Realising just how many opportunities there are and realising that getting involved has so many benefits in both the long and the short term.
How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?
I have definitely become more confident as a person and more open to new ideas and concepts. I can approach people and businesses with greater confidence, and a greater appreciation of long term benefits.
What do you find most enjoyable about your line of work and why?
I have a great appreciation for detail. I love reading the small print, contracts, organising documents etc. I love that even though I work in an office environment, I am greatly influential on people and their lives both privately and commercially. You can get close when helping people to buy their first or family home, and you share in their excitement.
What are the challenges of your role?
We try to make the process as smooth as possible but, inevitably, people do become stressed and we take on some of that and there are usually times pressure too. I have to manage expectations with clients, banks and other solicitors.
What are your aspirations?
In the short-term to qualify and then have the opportunity to expand my knowledge and take on more challenges. Ultimately, it would be a dream come true to become a partner in a law practice.
What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?
Get involved! Be a ‘yes’ man! You never know who you’re going to meet and what you’re going to learn. Also, make the most of the placement year, this time of your life and this period of education is something you can only do once and sets you up for the rest of your life so make sure you get everything out of it that you can.