Solicitor

What do you do for a living?

I am a solicitor and partner in a law firm.

How did you get interested in what you do?

I had some family connections with the law. There wasn't much career advice, though I remember speaking to a solicitor at a career's evening at school. There are always lots of lawyers protrayed on TV and that might have had a subliminal influence too.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

I was interested in English and History at school , but studied a wide range of subjects. I went to Edinburgh University for my law degree and post graduate diploma. I was then a trainee solicitor for two years in a law firm. 

Talk us through a day in your life.

As a partner, I spend a lot of my time supervising other lawyers, answering questions about their work and checking what they do.

I also spend a fair amount  of time helping to run the business, trying to get new clients for the firm. My legal work invloves defending accident claims against clients of the firm. That invloves reading a lot of paper work comprising accident reports, witness statments and working out whether there is a legal case or not. I also have to consider medical reports and records to work ouit the vlaue of cases and negotiate settlement of claims with other lawyers. One of the most interseting aspects of my job is visiting the scenes of accidents and taking statements from those invloved. I have visited submarines, aircraft carriers and fighter bases on my career. However, most of the time is spent writing letters to clients, drafting e mails, on the phone and in meetings. If cases don't settle, then I will need to appear in court to argue the case or instruct an advocate ( a specialist in court appearances ) to do so. Not many cases end up in court and it is nerve wracking when they do.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

Pretty much.

What did your parents want you to do?

They never expressed a view, but I think they were pleased I chose this career.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

You will need to study very hard to get good grades to go on to study law. Although the legal profession has taken a beating in the last few years and traineeships and jobs for newly qualified lawyers are scarce, it is a degree well worth studying. There are many career options open to you other than being a lawyer. Even as a lawyer, you can have a hugely varied job - from criminal law, to famly law, from property law to multi milllion pound deals as  corporate lawyer. If you do want to study law, I would start thinking about what you'd do afterwards early and think beyond simply being a lawyer.

What other career directions could you go in?

The law is hugely varied and most people will end up specialising in a few areas -criminal, family, property, wills and trusts, to name a few. You might start to think about that during your degree and in particualar, your traineeship. You can become an advocate ( who specialising in appearing in court) or a
judge. Beyond the legal profression, law is an excellent degree to have to enter a buiness career or the civil service. The actor, Gerard Butler, was a trainee at the firm I work in, so you could end up in Hollywood!