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Iona S

Learning & Development Manager / Solicitor | Mayer Brown

Profile Highlights:

  • State school educated
  • First generation lawyer
  • Non Russell Group university graduate
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Profile:

At school I was given little careers guidance and neither of my parents went to university.  I remember getting most of my “careers advice” from my wonderful dentist and GP. I recall watching a barrister at the family court during the divorce proceedings of my parents and coming away thinking I had found my vocation. I was about 9 at the time. I worked hard to get the grades (and money) to go to university and law school. I had never heard of the term “Russell group” at that time. As Bar School cost more than Law School, I opted for the latter.

After avoiding family law at all costs (!) I qualified and enthusiastically practised as an employment solicitor for many years.  I gradually moved away from fee-earning as a lawyer and fell into learning and development. I taught a Masters programme in employment law and trained law firm clients. Diversity has always been an interest of mine and I have led workshops and spoken at conferences on the subject for many years. In 2014 I left Norton Rose Fulbright to join Mayer Brown, where I am Head of Learning & Development. I balance this full-time job with being a single mum.  My work involves managing legal training and training lawyers and lawyers-to-be on essential business and personal skills. I am a coach and mentor and work closely with our HR, Recruitment, and CSR teams. One of my passions is one-to-one coaching, including coaching and developing those on the autistic spectrum. I genuinely believe in diversity and the need to support and encourage all to reach their true potential. I am lucky enough to be involved in diversity and inclusion work both in my personal and in my working life. I am a board member and trustee of a charity for families of children and young people on the autistic spectrum. I am also a great supporter and advocate for the work of Aspiring Solicitors.

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