LLB Law. Class Of 2011. Enable Law Associate.
What attracted you to Swansea University?
Being from Cornwall, high on the list of priorities was to study somewhere close to the sea. Swansea's Singleton Campus is a stone's throw from the sea, so it certainly ticked that box. Swansea also had the right academic credentials, and it felt like 'the right fit' when I travelled up for an open day. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy living and studying in Swansea, and I wasn’t wrong!
"...it was a once in lifetime experience to be able to live in India and work with a company like 3M – it's something I am very grateful to Swansea University for helping to arrange."
What are your favourite memories from your time at university?
In the last year of my degree I applied for internship with 3M (an American multi-national manufacturing company) in Bengaluru, India.
I have many great memories from my time at university, but the internship was definitely on another level. Although it had its challenges, it was a once in lifetime experience to be able to live in India and work with a company like 3M – it's something I am very grateful to Swansea University for helping to arrange.
What career path did you take after graduating?
After graduating I studied the Legal Practice Course at Plymouth University (which you need to complete if you want to then go on to train as a solicitor).
I started the LPC before I had a training contract secured (the contact to cover the two-year training period with a firm that would then lead to qualification as a solicitor). It was therefore a gamble that completing the LPC would eventually pay off.
Luckily, after graduating from Plymouth University and working as a paralegal for 18 months, I was offered a training contact with Foot Anstey. Even luckier, the training contract was not due to start until a further years’ time, which meant I could finish work as a paralegal and spend a year travelling before I started the training programme.
My training lasted two years - I spent time in four different departments at Foot Anstey and worked across four of the firm's offices in the South West. I qualified in September 2016, and was fortunate enough to find a newly qualified position in my preferred office (Plymouth) and preferred specialism (Clinical Negligence).
What does your current role involve and how did your time at Swansea prepare you?
My undergraduate Law degree was of course extremely relevant to my later training and journey to becoming a qualified solicitor – and I probably would not be in my current role without it.
However, aside from the obvious relationship between the theoretical study of the law to then applying it in practice, my time at Swansea helped me to prepare for the wider challenges of post university life.
I remember the support that was provided with all of the other aspects of finding employment after university, and how this was a particular focus throughout my undergraduate degree. There were also opportunities outside the lecture room, such as my internship in India, which gave students the chance to add something to their CV to help them stand out from the crowd.
"...seeing what a successful settlement means, and seeing what impact it has on them and their families, is the most rewarding part of my job"
What do you find most satisfying about working in law?
I represent claimants in Clinical Negligence claims. I therefore act for patients, or the families of the patients (if the patient has passed away).
Given what clinical negligence claims involve, often very serious and life changing injuries, it can be difficult to see the struggles that our clients have to contend with. However seeing what a successful settlement means, and seeing what impact it has on them and their families, is the most rewarding part of my job – it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily get to see if you worked for a business or corporate client.
Can you tell us about your most memorable or challenging case to date?
When I was training and working in different areas of law, I quickly found out that I preferred representing individuals rather than companies/corporates. It is the clients themselves, rather than the amount of compensation or the legal complexities, that have made the most memorable moments in my career to date.
I remember one particular moment, in the days before the Coronavirus, where we accompanied a brain injury client to a house viewing. He was curious about the amount of space in the loft. As a result of his injury he had become more impulsive, and he proceeded to hoist me up by my waist so that I could peek my head into the loft to assess the amount of space available. He did all this without any warning, but I like to think I reacted well and gave a good assessment for him. I don’t think he bought the house in the end though…
"...whatever you decide to do after leaving university, be focused, determined and persistent!"
What advice would you give to new graduates?
Its easier said than done, but whatever you decide to do after leaving university, be focused, determined and persistent!
I started applying for training contacts in my second year of university, but it took me four more years until I was successful. That process taught me the importance in being determined (and not letting knock-backs get you down), being persistent (with my first three applications to Foot Anstey being unsuccessful) and being focused in whatever you choose to apply yourself to.
When I left university, the economy was still slowly recovering from the financial crisis. Recent events may have eclipsed what, at that time, felt like a difficult situation but I think my advice applies equally (or even more so) now.