After approximately 18 years working in IT, I decided to become a lawyer, at first undertaking the GDL part-time while working full time. Going back to university in my late 30s was a challenge in itself. On top of that, I lacked knowledge of both the UK legal and university systems since I had immigrated from Canada with an undergraduate degree in medical informatics. Not only was I the first person in my family to ever go to university, I am the only lawyer. In fact, before starting my GDL, I had only ever spoken to two lawyers: my software company’s in-house counsel and the solicitor who purchased my house.

Becoming a solicitor is not without its challenges for anyone. Yet there are some issues which are some what unique for career changers: it can be difficult to convince a potential employer that you are happy to give up a well-paid, managerial role and become a trainee photocopying bundles late into the night. Additionally, there are many moments of insecurity and doubt when starting from the bottom later in life. Fortunately, I found a firm that is exceptionally supportive and sees the value of diversity.

In my experience, having a different background has been immensely beneficial to me as a solicitor. Clients are diverse: they come from all walks of life and many face diversity challenges in their own jobs. I find being “not the typical lawyer” enables me to better connect with clients which in turn has resulted in a very rewarding career.

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