Solicitor | TLT
- Northern Irish
- State School educated
- Flexible due to young family
I’m originally from Northern Ireland and state-school educated. Although I found I was training with a lot of people with southern English accents and privately educated, I think a regional background actually helps make you stand out and can be used to challenge the status quo in a positive way.
I completed my degree in Chemistry and Law at Bristol University and did not immediately apply for training contracts or the Legal Practice Course as I was not sure whether I wanted to pursue a career in science or the law: I felt more proficient academically in the world of science but perhaps my personality was more suited to practicing law. However, when it came to enquiring about training contracts, I found that far from being a disadvantage, having a scientific background is an asset because it brings with it both methodical thinking and analytical skills so definitely don’t be put off if you don’t have a traditional law or arts background. Coming to law slightly later than others also gave me more time to gain the experience I wanted and be sure that the profession was right for me.
The biggest challenge to my legal career has been working part-time from early on. Three months after qualifying into the General Commercial team at TLT LLP, I went on maternity leave. After 9 months I returned on a part-time basis, working 3 days a week. I have since been on maternity leave again for a second child and returned to the same team with the same working pattern. The flexibility benefits me and my family and increasingly employers are seeing the benefits of flexible working for their own business. Working part-time means that I have been able to keep a breadth of experience and TLT has been very accommodating so that I can fit the demands of my work around my family, including through home-working when necessary.
I believe that diversity in any area can be turned into a strength if you have the confidence in your ability and determination to succeed.