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Chasing my dreams

I’d always dreamed of becoming a solicitor. But despite working hard to complete a part time law degree while doing a full-time job, then funding myself through the LPC (legal practice course), it was clear when the time came to get a training contract that the legal industry was biased against mature students.

I had many disappointments and even gave up at one point thinking I would never reach my goal. Eventually, I decided to give it one more try, and I set myself a goal to get my training contract within 6 months. Incredibly, I achieved my goal, qualifying as a solicitor 10 years after completing my law degree.

Life as a private practice solicitor

I got my first solicitor’s role in a small private practice. Working in private practice is incredibly rewarding but it can also be very challenging.

My role was very niche, and often emotive when supporting bereaved families. Career progression was difficult and with billing targets to hit there was a huge imbalance in work-life flexibility that really affected me over the years.

After 8 successful years I began to feel like I needed a change. I’d recently completed my MBA and was eager to use the new skills I had learnt to develop my career. Having reflected on this, I decided I wanted to do something more commercial.

A leap of faith

I had a call one afternoon from a recruiter who told me about a role at Co-op Legal Services. I thought hard about whether I wanted to apply – I thought the job might give me an opportunity to use my MBA and my legal skills, but it’s always scary to move somewhere new and to give up the security and familiarity of what you know.

My head swirled with doubts but despite feeling nervous, I knew I should take the risk so I agreed my CV could be put forward and I got an interview within days.

I needn’t have worried at all; it was clear that the hiring manager who interviewed me was as passionate about her career as I was about mine. She put my mind at ease, and we shared similar ideas about how clients and colleagues should be treated. The conversation felt more like a chat with a friend than a rigorous nerve-wracking interview.

I wish I’d applied sooner

Having worked for Coop Legal Services for a couple of months I wish I’d had the courage to apply a long time ago. The team is welcoming, friendly, collaborative, and I’ve learned so much already. It feels great to work somewhere where your efforts are appreciated, your views are taken on-board and you’re encouraged to give your opinions and ideas.

I already feel like I’ve worked here for years. It’s a world away from traditional high street practice – a fully inclusive business that supports its colleagues to develop in a safe and supportive space.

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