Solicitor and member of the Law Society LGBT+ Lawyers Division Committee
I was inspired to become a lawyer through a love of history at school. I realised my strengths lay in words (certainly not numbers) and how I was able to construct an argument.
I saw law as living history in many respects, with use of sources being case law and statute. I was also very keen to help people in whatever I did in the future and have always enjoyed problem solving.
My father is a lawyer back where I am from in south Wales. I had copies of the Law Society Gazette knocking around the house from a young age… in case I had any other ideas.
I was lucky enough to undertake work experience at Manchester City Council during the Legal Practice Course. It was only a week but it opened my eyes to working in local government and I was hooked. I was amazed at the variation in legal work and the rewarding undercurrent present throughout – of working to ensure the best for local people.
I initially took the first job I could find post-study, which was in a personal injury firm. I stayed in PI, moving from claimant in a local firm to defendant catastrophic injury in a global firm. I enjoyed my time and am so grateful for the experience, but I always kept an eye on jobs in local government and was able to secure a training contract at Tameside Council.
I am now an adult social care lawyer for Wigan Council (a job I didn’t know existed until a seat on my training contract). I assist with a vast array of legal issues from young adults with severe learning disabilities to elderly people in care homes. The people involved are vulnerable and in need of assistance.
I work alongside social workers to try and achieve the best outcomes and encourage people to flourish as much as possible. It can be challenging to read events that have occurred in people’s lives, from life-changing accidents to those previously fiercely independent now with late stage dementia. I enjoy seeing cases to the end and it is so rewarding to feel you are helping people regain independence or ensuring they have legal security in where they are living.
'It was so useful to see someone where I wanted to be. It gave me boundless confidence to not hide away and, together with others in the office, we formed an LGBT+ network'
I came out as gay at university, after coming to a sudden and somewhat distressing realisation aged about 19. I didn’t know any LGBT+ lawyers and had no idea how I was going to navigate becoming a lawyer on top of figuring out how to be a gay woman.
I was very guarded initially about my sexuality in a professional sphere. It was a terrifying moment when I ticked the ‘gay box’ on a training contract application for the first time. I can still feel the panic when reviewing that application.
When entering work, I started in a very social office where we all discussed our personal lives openly so I naturally came out to close colleagues. When moving jobs, I have been nervous about coming out for the first time. But I feel strongly that if I am not comfortable being out, it isn’t the job for me.
I found a mentor in my second job who was a gay woman more senior than myself and had achieved much in life that I wanted to emulate. It was so useful to see someone where I wanted to be. It gave me boundless confidence to not hide away and, together with others in the office, we formed an LGBT+ network.
This bolstered me to apply for a position with the Law Society LGBT+ Lawyers Division Committee and it has been an upwards trajectory ever since. As a trainee from a small Greater Manchester council it was invaluable to have a fabulous and experienced network of LGBT+ lawyers from the committee.
I was the only LGBT+ lawyer at my workplace as a trainee, but I was confident enough to make changes and assist when LGBT+ issues arose in cases. In my new role, I am the equality, diversity and inclusion officer for legal alongside my case work.
I am a member of the Manchester Law Society Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I have spoken at events about my experience to students – not bad for someone who was scared to tick the ‘gay box’ on applications.