Solicitor, Turner Parkinson, Manchester
It’s a bit of a cliche but I always wanted to be a solicitor. I’m not sure I really knew what solicitors did at first apart from argue – I thought that the arguments I’d had with my younger siblings stood me in good stead for a legal career. I continued to pursue a legal career and did work experience at a law firm when I was 15. I have never looked back.
I trained at Brooke North in Leeds, which unfortunately no longer exists. My training was very hands-on, which threw me in at the deep end but was invaluable in preparing me for a legal career.
I practise insolvency but always thought I wanted to be a corporate solicitor. That all changed though during my training contract when I experienced the variety of work in insolvency. A day in the life of an insolvency lawyer is incredibly varied because insolvency touches on many other areas of law such as corporate, litigation, employment and property.
Clients require us to give them certainty of an outcome, which can be difficult because of the constant changes in insolvency case law. When acting for insolvency practitioners and other professionals, our clients expect commercial advice rather than simply being presented with options. Being able to understand the day-to-day nature of clients’ work is vital to enable us to adopt a more commercial approach.
I undertook the Joint Insolvency Examination Board exams in 2013. I was over the moon to discover I had been awarded the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association Prize for the highest mark of any lawyer in the country. I was so pleased to have passed that I forgot to check the prizewinners list so someone else actually told me about my prize as the results are published online.
Scrutiny and regulation has increased significantly in recent years. This has improved confidence in the profession, but it has meant that my clients now have less ability to exercise discretion and have to return to court too frequently. Although this is good for insolvency lawyers, it is burdensome on the courts. Substantial changes are expected with the Insolvency Rules 2015 to clarify the law.
The insolvency profession has traditionally been a very male-dominated environment. This is changing slowly, and there are a lot of talented women involved in the profession. The trade body for insolvency professionals, R3, is encouraging diversity. It would be nice to see an increasing number of women rising to the top and making a difference.
When people find out you’re a solicitor they assume you know anything and everything about the law, from driving offences to divorces. As an insolvency lawyer you have to keep on top of developments in other legal disciplines because the nature of our work is so varied, from selling an insolvent business to advising an administrator on a redundancy process and anything in between.