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Farrer & Co

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Anne-Marie P

00:00:03 Hello, I’m Anne-Marie P, I’m a Partner in the firm, and the Head of the Firm’s Charities Group. Describing my job in simple terms is just not possible, because no two days are the same. I mean I am exceptionally privileged. All my clients are charities, so I spend my entire day surrounded by nice people, trying to do things that on the whole are things that matter. I might be sitting round a table with leading Academics talking about research projects one morning, the next afternoon I might be in the back of a Mosque trying to sort out a Mosque dispute. I do quite a lot of mergers, where you go into to quite often quite large organisations, dissect them, and then mould them into something new.

00:00:45 I started out as a youngster, literally 5 or 6, knowing that I was going to be a lawyer. I thought at that age I’d be a Judge, and then I found you couldn’t go straight to being a Judge. And then as I got older, I developed a real social conscience, and so I was going to go into the Law to fight for the liberties of the oppressed!

00:01:04 I failed my Eleven Plus, went to a Secondary Modern school, and these – those days was told at the age of 16 I was quite a bright girl so I could probably work in a bank, or if I was lucky get to the Norwich Union, because I grew up in Norfolk. And I just thought – oh sod that – and went then to a Sixth Form college. Which did their best, but really they – there was no sort of Oxbridge or Law training. But nobody told me that I couldn’t actually do it, so I got into University, and I qualified as a Barrister, and was intending to practise, but then the chap that subsequently became my husband, came back from travelling and decided to go to college. So we figured that one of us should get a job. I got a job thinking it was temporary and I’d go back.

00:01:48 I was doing tax planning, working for a firm of Life Assurance and Pension Brokers. And actually then I thought – actually there’s much more to this tax planning. So I moved to work for one of the big City Law firms, and converted to become a Solicitor. Really enjoyed my work, I used to do off-shore tax planning, and that involved a lot of travelling. And then, I’d been a Partner for two years, when the firm decided in the late eighties, like many other City firms – actually we’re Law firms for businesses, sod the private client, and they just closed the department. Well I was a week overdue with my first child, so it was like – Oh, oh where do we go from here? Because it seems very strange to youngsters, but in my day there were no women – you either had a career or you had a family.

00:02:35 There was no pattern of women coming back to work after they’d had children, so I thought I was unemployable. But I was persuaded by the firm to stay with them. And the idea was that I would do Pensions work. But I also had always done a bit of charity work, and I said I’d like to keep that. Well it became clear to me really, really quickly that I just couldn’t spend my days surrounded by man in grey shoes talking pensions regulations, whereas I actually loved the charity side of things. So I spent two years learning about charities and then, by the time I’d had my second child, I thought – actually I’ve got to practise now – and I moved, and so that’s how I got into Charity Law. Serendipity really.

00:03:21 The Charity Sector is a particularly benign and pleasant place to work. But the deadlines are tight and the money is tight, and so you’ve got to be able to deliver the service the clients really need, when they need it. So when the babies are small – I mean I used to go home every night at about six, so that I could give them their supper and bath them. But the computer would go on the minute they went to sleep, and sometimes I’d have to work till one or two in the morning. So I work as hard – I’ve always worked as hard as my male colleagues, but I’ve always picked things that could be done at three in the morning, you know, who cares when you wrote that report, as long as you got the report delivered on time.

00:03:55 I like to spend as much time as I can with my family because, you know, it’s like nobody ever said on their deathbed – I wish I’d spent more time in the office. I think a lot of the problem with some roles is that they define themselves by their jobs. I mean for me it’s been the perfect career but, as I say, if I won the Lottery I’d be out the door. It is only a job.

00:04:17 ENDS

Anne-Marie P is a Partner and the Head of the Farrer & Co’s Charities Group. She works hard but says, “I like to spend as much time as I can with my family because, you know, it’s like nobody ever said on their deathbed – ‘I wish I’d spent more time in the office'”.

More information about Solicitors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

39%  male 
61%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Solicitors advise and act on behalf of individuals, organisations, businesses and government departments in legal matters.
Entry to training usually requires a qualifying law degree or postgraduate diploma. Graduates in subjects other than law must first take a one-year conversion course. All entrants undertake a one year legal practice course, followed by a two-year training contract.
  • Draws up contracts, leases, wills and other legal documents;
  • Undertakes legal business on behalf of client in areas of business law, criminal law, probate, conveyancing and litigation, and acts as trustee or executor if required;
  • Instructs counsel in higher and lower courts and pleads cases in lower courts as appropriate;
  • Scrutinises statements, reports and legal documents relevant to the case being undertaken and prepares papers for court;
  • Represents clients in court.
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