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 Charlotte Nock about her experiences.
Q1 What made you want to enter the legal profession?
Coming from a family that keenly enjoys debating and arguing a point, I’ve always been quite good at expressing myself and also enjoyed drama at school. When I was ten years old, someone said to me ‘You’d make a good lawyer’, and this stuck with me. They were right as I really enjoy my work as a solicitor.
Q2 What was your first role in the legal profession?
Following successful completion of my LPC in 2009, I was delighted to be offered a training contract at Girlings as one of the leading law firms in Kent.
Q3 What is your specialist area and why did you choose this?
I am a partner in Girlings’ Private Client team and specialise, in Wills, Estates and Inheritance Tax Planning.
I suppose I was initially drawn to this area because my family on my mother’s side have always discussed and been interested in succession and planning for the next generation.
However, my main reason for specialising in this area is simple. I like dealing with people. I remember when I was about to finish my traineeship at Girlings I was offered a place on qualification with the Corporate & Commercial team as well as with the Private Client team. I was torn as I really enjoyed the work in both areas. The deciding factor was when one of the partners said just choose what makes you tick - is it business and reading the FT every day or do you like dealing with people?
Q4 A story which illustrates how things have changed in law firms during your career
The culture is far less formal than when I first started in the profession ten years ago. Then, you were expected to address a senior person by their title, and would definitely not venture to use their first name, unless invited to do so.
Compared with other law firms, I would have to say in my experience, Girlings has always been inclusive in terms of women working at a senior level.
Email has undoubtedly had the greatest impact on working practices. Ten years ago it was relatively rare for anyone to have access to emails outside of work. Now most people have access to an email which has led to a round the clock expectation of service.
Q5 Who inspires you and why?
Many senior male and female judges inspire me. You only have to read one of their judgements to see what amazing minds they have.
My absolute inspiration has to be Baroness Hale. She has a history of legal firsts and breaking down barriers in the judiciary. Despite these monumental achievements, she is also very human and a modest woman who freely admits that she sometimes suffers from imposter syndrome and to moments of self doubt.
Q6 What advice would you give to young females who wish to follow a career in the legal industry?
My advice to young women is to be disciplined and driven. They should power on and not let any preconceived ideas of women at work (particularly working mothers) be true.
Q7 What is your proudest achievement and why?
As training partner, it has to be the personal satisfaction of giving young trainees and lawyers the support they need to flourish to become able, legal professionals.
Q8 How do you maintain your work/life balance?
I believe to be successful in your career as a working mother you have to keep your boundaries firmly drawn. When I am at work I focus one hundred percent on work - I get in early and often work late. When I am at home my focus is on spending quality time with my family.
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