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Claire G

Senior Associate | Bird & Bird

Profile Highlights:

  • First generation to go to university
  • State school educated
  • Low income family
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Profile:

I entered the legal profession following a previous career in administration/project management, primarily at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and undertook my LLB (Law) on a part-time basis while working full-time. I struggled to secure a training contract, partly due to the lack of training contracts available following the 2008/9 recession, and partly due to the fact that I did not follow the ‘usual’ route into the profession.

After using my annual leave entitlement to undertake work experience placements, I was offered a position at Harrison Clark Rickerbys as a paralegal within the commercial contracts team. After 11 months, I was offered a training contract and ultimately secured a position as a newly qualified solicitor in that team. After 1.5 years, I successfully applied for a position at Pinsent Masons LLP – a firm which had originally rejected my training contract application. I am now a Senior Associate at Bird & Bird, working with a number of ex-Pinsent Masons colleagues. I have advised on some of the most complex procurements undertaken by the UK public sector, and now work for one of the most respected firms in the UK. At one time, this seemed almost impossible! I believe diversity is important because our clients are diverse – not everyone is the same; people like to deal with people they like and feel comfortable working with.

I believe I bring something different to the table – non-legal experience, common ground with Midlands clients who pick up on my regional accent and strong business development skills. Ultimately, while providing technically accurate advice is important, perhaps a more important skillset for a lawyer is to be able to establish a relationship of mutual trust with clients. In turn, this requires law firms to engage a diverse base of lawyers to continue to be successful in the future.

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