When I was working as a Speech & Language Therapist for the NHS, my former career, I became increasingly interested in the prospects that an alternative career as a solicitor would offer. I had enjoyed the problem solving, team working and advisory aspects to my then current role but was keen to develop this transferable skillset in fast-paced commercial context with legal problems. It’s fair to say that I was very selective about the firms I applied to as I was putting a lot on the line to change career and so it wasn’t just about getting a training contract. I looked beyond that for a firm with ambition that offered interesting and high quality work, which looked like the sort of place where I could start as a trainee and where I could see myself staying and developing as a qualified lawyer. I was also keen to train with a firm that offered a broad range of legal services so that I could gain a wide and varied experience of different areas of law before deciding where to specialise as a qualified lawyer.
I took part in the vacation scheme at Osborne Clarke and was impressed to find a firm that clearly lived up to its reputation for technically excellent lawyers, but more so, with the ease that Osborne Clarke solicitors seemed to translate really tricky legal concepts into straight forward practical advice that was meaningful to their clients and their businesses. Aside from the quality of the work, the collegiate and supportive atmosphere was and is still, in my view, a key feature of working at Osborne Clarke. Colleagues are encouraging and generous with their time to support your development. They also understand that the trainees of today are potential partners of tomorrow and recognise the importance of providing opportunities for learning, experience and support in between.
Given my previous career in a very “people-orientated” profession, I had anticipated from the outset that employment law may be of particular interest, although I was keen to keep an open mind throughout my training contract. I undertook an employment elective module on the LPC and a seat with the employment team during my training contract which confirmed it was definitely the area of law in which I wanted to specialise. A regular flow of new legislation and case law decisions (from both the UK and EU) mean employment law is a dynamic and varied area of law. On top of that, the individual characters of employees and employers mean it is never dull and no two situations are the same.
I qualified into the employment team in Bristol in 2012. The work is very varied and examples include giving advice to employers on day to day employment queries (such as new employment contracts, dismissal, redundancy, discrimination, poor performance and disciplinary issues), defending tribunal claims and reviewing the employment arrangements of a client’s acquisition or investment target in order to advise on risks and recommendations.