Two years ago, Louise Stas kicked-started her career at the job fair in Leuven. As a driven trainee lawyer, she clicked with Nelissen Grade from the first encounter. That is essential, says Louise, because the combination of trainee, traineeship supervisor and the law firm has to be just right. 'Nelissen Grade doesn’t just focus on a strong resume and academic qualifications, but also places great importance on the person behind the resume.'
Choosing the character of the Leuven Bar Association
Louise graduated with a master's degree in law from KU Leuven in 2021. There was never any doubt that she would enter the legal profession. “I've known since high school that I will be a lawyer. That feeling was further validated during my law studies, e.g. during moot court exercises. I hesitated between Leuven and Brussels during my last master's year, but my preference quickly turned to the Leuven Bar. It’s smaller, more sociable, and more personal. In Leuven, you start with about 20 trainee lawyers and have many opportunities to get to know each other better. I don’t believe the larger bar associations have that level of connection.”
Instant click with Nelissen Grade
Like many final-year students, Louise started her job search in November. Purposeful and well-prepared, Louise headed to the VRG job fair with Nelissen Grade high on her priority list. “After visiting the Nelissen Grade booth, I immediately felt the great atmosphere within the association. Two conversations followed in the office with Kris Maes, who would become my traineeship supervisor. Those interviews were nothing like a classic job application—quite the contrary! Personal interests, how I would approach certain legal issues—even my dream of someday taking a barista class came up. [laughs] I quickly felt we were on the same page.”
Passion for social security and labour law
At Nelissen Grade, Louise focuses labour and social security law cases. Dry subject matter? “Absolutely not!” according to Louise. “I was allowed to handle a wide variety of cases from my first week. Those cases showed me the human side of the law branch. It is a world of difference from the theory you study in lectures as a student. Working independently is key. Conducting searches and writing opinions and conclusions—I have a lot of responsibility in cases and work closely with Kris, who guides and makes adjustments where necessary. That collaboration—working as a team to think about the final product that goes to the client—is great.”
“Nelissen Grade is a firm that offers opportunity and perspective. Seeing female lawyers become associates, colleagues smoothly combining their jobs with family life — as a young lawyer, it’s inspiring to join.”- Louise Stas, trainee lawyer