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 Emma Manley about her experiences.
Q1 What made you want to enter the legal profession?
I studied Law at A level and loved it immediately. I knew from then that I wanted a career in the legal profession. During A Level law I studied a number of different legal areas.
Every area was interesting, engaging and varied. It was immediately evident that there are many different elements of a legal career including people skills and technical skills. I loved how diverse the practice is.
Q2 What was your first role in the legal profession?
After studying A Level law, I went on to study a Law and French degree at the University of Kent. I then studied the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in London.
Before commencing a training contract I worked for the Home Office in a legal department initially as a Presenting Officer, then as a Drafter and finally as a Senior Presenting Officer. I worked in this department dealing with immigration and human rights matters for three and a half years and loved it. No two days were ever the same.
Having gained legal experience whilst working with the Home Office, I was able to secure a training contract with Girlings. I feel that my Home Office experience was invaluable in securing a training contract and prepared me well for a career in private practice.
Q3 What is your specialist area and why did you choose this?
During my training contract I worked in a number of areas (Commercial Property, Residential Property, Familyand Private Client), but I now specialise exclusively in Private Client and for our Court of Protection service. As soon as I began working in the Private Client department, I knew it was the department I wanted to qualify into. The work is diverse and interesting. In the Private Client department we work directly with our clients and their families offering support and assistance; I love this aspect of the role.
Q4 A story which illustrates how things have changed in law firms during your career?
I qualified as a solicitor just over a year ago; as such, my career so far as been relatively short!
In my roles with the Home Office and with Girlings I have been incredibly lucky to have been given some fantastic opportunities.
I am very aware that women in law have not always had these opportunities and that it is because of the battles that people have fought in the past that I have been able to enter the legal profession and have the career that I love; I feel incredibly grateful.
Q5 Who inspires you and why?
There are many very successful and impressive people, in particular women, in the law.
Baroness Hale, I think, is a fantastic example of an impressive woman in law. Baroness Hale is the president of the Supreme Court; she is the first woman to hold this role. It has been inspiring to follow her progress and success over the years. I also find the people that I work with on a day-to-day basis inspiring.
Many solicitors at Girlings began at Girlings as trainees and have progressed through the firm. I find this inspiring; it shows me the path that I could hopefully follow in my career.
Q6 What advice would you give to young females who wish to follow a career in the legal industry?
If I were speaking to my university student self, I would say:
- Take every single opportunity that comes your way and pursue it wholeheartedly.New experiences and opportunities are often daunting, but you have to put your reservations to one side and cease the opportunities.
- Also, keep working hard.The road to qualification can be long, but if you keep working, you will get there!
Q7 What is your proudest achievement and why?
Qualifying as a solicitor is definitely one of my proudest achievements. The day I qualified was a great day; the years of hard work were worth it!
Q8 How do you maintain your work/life balance?
Dedicate your spare time to things that you enjoy doing. I love music and fitness. I attend a trampoline exercise class weekly which I love. In my view, committing your spare time to activities that you enjoy, and that help you unwind, is essential.
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