Senior Associate – Corporate
The firm I work for is called Freshfields. My role is as a corporate solicitor and my title is Senior Associate. On a day to day basis what that job involves is advising companies, mainly in buying and selling businesses and other assets and advising them on the day to day running of their companies, particularly those listed on the stock exchange.
My experience of school was very positive, I very much enjoyed school. I didn’t leave school with any very clear career plans and that’s mainly because I liked a variety of subjects. My favourite subjects were English and biology so that was good in that it was diverse but it didn’t give me a clear career path to follow.
My first job was as a waitress in a coffee shop. I really enjoyed it because I like talking to people and enjoy meeting people and I think I got it through answering an ad in our local newspaper. I guess the journey from my first job as a waitress to my job now as a corporate solicitor has mainly been through education. So I started that job as a waitress when I was 14 and then went on to do my GCSE’s and my A Levels and then go on to University, so that’s been my progress to my current job.
My father is a lawyer as well and my mother doesn’t work, she’s always stayed at home when I was growing up and now. They’ve always been very supportive of my choices, both choices around university and career. They are not at tall suggestive in what they want me to do, I think as long as I’m happy they’re happy.
I guess a significant life events that has occurred for me is that I had a baby a year ago. I’m now back at work as a working mother. I don’t think my attitude to my job has changed in that I still really enjoy it, but my perspective has changed a lot in that I now have another big priority in my life that I didn’t have before.
The best bits about my job, there are two best bits. One is the people I work with, I really like my colleagues and I really like my clients and so feeling like I do a good job for my clients and feeling that I am a good member of the team is a really big part of my motivation. The other great bit about my work is that it’s very varied; no two days are the same. I’ve been very lucky in my job in that I’ve had two amazing mentors who have helped me a lot with making career decisions, making me feel that I’m in the right job, making me feel valued in the job that I do. Their support and encouragement has been a big part in the fact that I’ve stayed in the same firm for 8 years. I think there are always times in your career that you feel as though you need a break or you need a change and what you often need can be found internally but it needs the right people to help you find it and to encourage you stick with what you’re doing.
I think I’m quite lucky that my skills, interests and strengths are things that I can do on an everyday basis at work. I really enjoy speaking, public speaking and discussing things on a one on one basis with people. I get to talk all day in my job both on the phone to clients and with my colleagues about different legal problems so I really enjoy talking and that’s a big part of my job.
You can climb a very big career ladder and so I enjoy progressing through the years of qualification here and being able to see myself rise in seniority in the firm.
When I was growing up I wish I had known that there are lots of different paths to the same career, you don’t have to take the absolutely standard path of education, graduate career, moving up through the ladder. I think there are lots of ways to get involved in things you’re interested in. I wish I had known that following what you are interested in is always going to keep your attention for longer than following what you’re good at.