I studied international relations and politics at undergraduate level – and found the legal aspects really interesting. I was incredibly fortunate to secure a training contract with what is now Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP when I finished my degree.
Upon qualification, I moved to the restructuring unit at Gateley Plc’s Nottingham office. Gateley is a great place to practise in this area of the law. I was involved with a broad range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency work. I was also lucky to be exposed to aspects of corporate, banking, real estate and litigation matters where these interacted with struggling businesses or insolvency.
Before Christmas, I moved to the Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre. Here, I supervise the corporate/commercial/litigation work of the Business and Enterprise Law Service. I was excited about the opportunity to shape a very new service – and use student support to deliver free or low-cost legal advice to small business clients. The centre benefits from EU funding to provide free support to Nottinghamshire- and Derbyshire-based businesses which can demonstrate that they are ‘innovating’ in some way.
The centre receives interesting enquiries from many charities looking to make an impact in the East Midlands community. The work is broadly similar to the work I was doing at Gateley. Most businesses face similar problems of similar urgency, but the scale is often quite different to what I have dealt with previously. The biggest difference is working with students; it is great to be helping to train our future commercial lawyers.
The centre also allows me time to dedicate solely to my role as a trustee and director of Citizens Advice (Nottingham and District). I sit on the main board as well as on the finance and fundraising committees. I wanted to be involved with this charity after reading about how disadvantaged central Nottingham families are in terms of income, prospects and educational attainment. Citizens Advice provides crucial frontline advice and secondary policy discussion to try to alleviate these issues. The charity relies entirely on short-term funding contracts and donations to deliver services. I am also involved with The Litigant in Person Network and Justice. This year, I am also the academic secretary of the Nottinghamshire Junior Lawyers Division.
The role also allows me to have involvement with Nottinghamshire Law Society’s education and training committee. As academic secretary, I am responsible for organising, judging or promoting the various legal competitions that have become staples of Nottinghamshire’s legal calendar.
The main benefit to these roles is the personal satisfaction I take from being able to use my professional skills to help others. Sitting on a board of trustees is also great management experience, and bringing contacts to the charity who may be able to help it is fantastic.