What is your title at Progeny and what does your role entail?
I am a Senior Solicitor in the Corporate legal team. I work with companies (including shareholders, directors and management teams) on a variety of issues to help them create, enhance, preserve and realise the value of their business. This can involve a wide range of matters, such as providing advice in relation to the incorporation of new companies, shareholders’ agreements and articles of association, day-to-day company law queries, group reorganisations, equity investments and acquisitions, management buy-outs and exit events.
How long have you worked in your field?
I started my career as a trainee in 2011, before qualifying two years later in 2013 – so nine years in law overall, seven of them as a corporate lawyer.
Why did you choose this profession?
When my final year of university arrived, I honestly wasn’t too sure what area I wanted to go into as a career. Law was one area that had always held an interest for me (although at the time, criminal law held more of an appeal due to spending far too much time watching American TV shows!), but it was a chance encounter with a lecturer from the College of Law that finally convinced me to apply to do my GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) and LPC (Legal Practice Course). Fortunately for me, I ended up enjoying my time at the College, although I very quickly moved away from the criminal law side of things towards a much more corporate preference.
Have you always known this was the area for you or did this develop over time?
Law was always an area that various teachers mentioned to me throughout school, particularly once I moved to secondary school (perhaps I was argumentative as a child!). But to be honest, I think I was much more set on being an astronaut than I ever was on being a lawyer! (I am still hoping for a phone call from NASA… any day now…).
Tell us a bit about the education and qualifications you need to do your job.
There are a variety of different routes into law, depending on the area of law you want to go into and the career path you want to choose. I went down a fairly traditional route of: A-levels; non-law degree (3 years); law degree (2 years); training contract (2 years); qualification.
In addition to the qualifications, what further skills, experience and attributes do you think make for a good solicitor?
In no particular order, honesty, attention to detail and problem-solving skills. It’s also really important that you not only have a sound knowledge of the law, but that you can apply the law to the client’s particular set of circumstances and take into account any commercial considerations that might influence the solutions offered. The right solution for one client, is not necessarily the right solution for another client even if, from a pure legal perspective, both situations could be addressed in the same way.
What other routes through education/experience might people take to reach your role?
There are various possible routes available. Some people will be a paralegal for a period of time alongside their legal studies, others will join a firm as an apprentice and work their way through training that way. A more common option is through CILEX (the professional body for Chartered Legal Executives, legal practitioner, paralegals and apprentices), which is a great route into a legal career.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your career footsteps?
I have two main pieces of advice. Firstly, no matter what anyone else is doing, always be yourself – you will form much stronger relationships with clients and with your colleagues.
Secondly, ask questions and keep learning. Some of the best learning experiences I have had have been as a result of questioning how something was being done, or discussing alternatives with colleagues. Thinking aloud and running ideas past a colleague can often be a really productive way of spotting problems and solutions that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up immediately otherwise.
What do you see as the next steps in your career?
Keep learning! Other than that, managing and developing more junior colleagues.
Any last words of wisdom you’d like to add?
Sometimes the simple solution is the best solution!