Professional Ambassadors

Laura W

Associate | Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Profile Highlights:

  • State school educated
  • First generation lawyer
  • First generation to attend university
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Profile:

I am a newly-qualified solicitor in Charles Russell Speechlys’ Family team, working in the Guildford office. During my training contract (also with Charles Russell Speechlys), I completed seats in Private Property, Employment Pensions & Immigration, Family and Private Wealth Disputes.

I was educated at a state school, was the first member of my family to go to university and am the first lawyer in my family. Whilst at school, I became interested in pursuing a career in law. The careers advice that I received was to study a non-law degree, then ‘convert’ into law later if I found that I still wanted to become a lawyer. On this advice, I completed a degree English Language and Linguistics at the University of York, followed by a master’s degree. I enjoyed my studies in Linguistics, but did finish university knowing that I still wanted to be a lawyer, concerned that studying the GDL and LPC would add to my university debt and unable to fund the courses privately.

I set out applying for training contracts, and soon found that getting legal work experience was vital. I had just begun working in publishing, which I did as a freelancer to allow me to have the flexibility to work on my training contract applications and to try to obtain some legal work experience alongside my work in publishing. My advice would be to take any legal work experience you can- it’s easier to get legal work experience when you already have some, however small. Perhaps try your university Alumni association to see whether they can put you in touch with anyone.

Further, all work experience is valuable – my various summer and part-time jobs, as well as my time in publishing, all equipped me with skills that I found useful as a trainee and am continuing to develop as an NQ. I was fortunate to secure a training contract with CRS, who sponsored my fees and provided me with a maintenance grant for both courses. Though it took me a few years (I was 30 when I qualified), I am extremely happy that I persevered in order to realise my ambition of becoming a solicitor. If you think it might be useful to have a chat, please do get in touch.

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