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Celebrating our Women in Law - Amanda Wilson

Girlings Solicitors and Girlings Personal Injury Claims are celebrating the #First100 years of the first equal opportunities legislation to enter the statute book, which has particular significance for the legal sector. We asked Amanda Wilson about her experiences.

Q1 What made you want to enter the legal profession?

I sort of fell into the legal profession , I was a legal secretary in the first instance,

The decision to become a solicitor came later, I was married with two very little children, and my husband and I separated, I needed a way to make more money so that I could support us as a family so I decided to go to university and become a solicitor myself.

Q2 What was your first role in the legal profession?

My first roles in the legal profession were as a secretary or litigation clerk in various large companies and solicitors firms, I then went to university and following that undertook the legal practice course and I then began a training contract at a firm on the south coast. I stayed there for 12 years, working my way up to be a Partner. I joined Girlings in 2015.

Q3 What is your specialist area and why did you choose this?

I always enjoyed working in family law as a secretary and when I got divorced my solicitor really helped get me through it. She was almost like a counsellor as well as a legal advisor so I was keen to work in family when I qualified as a solicitor..

The firm I trained with took me on after I qualified to work in Family and Private Client, so I always practised both. When I came to Girlings I initially started in Private Client and Girlings then asked me to specialise in Family Law.

Q4 A story which illustrates how things have changed in law firms during your career

I haven’t ever felt disadvantaged in the firms I have worked for or while I was at university, I have always worked with more women than men in the legal profession.

I think it was easier when I trained to be a solicitor, you had to be interviewed to get on the legal practice course, and there was only one provider of the legal practice course available at four locations so there were about the same number of legal practice graduates as there were training contracts so you were almost guaranteed a training contract, but after I qualified they opened up the legal practice course to universities and other providers and there were no where near enough training contracts for graduates after that, I think I was in a more favourable place when I qualified.

I was lucky, I had a lot of experience as a secretary, I think that helped and stood me in good stead when I applied for a training contract I had practical legal experience, I think that really helped. I wrote to every solicitor in my local area, at that point I had two children at school so I couldn’t move away. But I managed to get a training contract with a very good firm, and I was very happy there.

Q5 Who inspires you and why?

My father inspired me a lot, he came from a poor background and started work as an office junior, and worked his way up to become the managing director of the roads division of Shell, He was very determined and very fair minded He was a huge inspiration in my life he was very encouraging. People who try really hard are and are rewarded for their efforts, they always inspire me, people who have beaten adversity to do something great.

Q6 What advice would you give to young females who wish to follow a career in the legal industry?

Follow your dreams, if you want to do something just go for it, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. When I went to university I had to do an access course and on that course they told me I was unlikely to get a place at university because they were oversubscribed. I got places at all six universities I applied for. Even if it is step by step just keep going for it and you will get there in the end.

Q7 What is your proudest achievement and why?

Having children is my proudest achievement, otherwise I think getting a distinction on the LPC, I lived in Rye in East Sussex and travelled to Guildford in Surrey and back every single day, I had two children in school and I had to work part time to support us. I did all of that and I got a distinction so I was very proud of that.

Q8 How do you maintain your work/life balance?

Maintaining a work life balance, I still find that really difficult, I don’t think there is an easy answer to that, you just feel guilty whatever you are doing, if I’m at work I feel guilty that I should be at home and if I’m at home I feel guilty that I should be working. If someone could tell me what the answer is I would be really grateful! I don’t think it’s easy.

For advice on Family Law issues, contact Amanda Wilson.

Please read Reliance on information posted in our Terms of Website Use - see Legal section - before relying on this commentary.

Before relying on this commentary please read the Reliance on information posted section in our Terms of Website Use in our Legal section. Please note that specialist advice should be taken in relation to any specific queries and the information above is provided for general information purposes only.


Amanda Wilson

Family Law
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