Name: Marsha Thompson
Degree and university: BA (Hons) in Law and French. This was a joint major course during which I spent the third year studying French Law and French at Universite Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in Lyon, France.
Job Title: Trainee, Martin Searle Solicitors
Why did you decide on a career in law? One of my earliest childhood memories was watching the US based legal drama ‘LA Law’. At a very young age I became fascinated by the legal issues and arguments that arose. As I matured, I began to realise that this glamorous portrayal of the legal industry was not an accurate reflection of the legal system. My interest in the law continued to develop and whilst at secondary school I attended a careers workshop run by local solicitors. I was able to increase my knowledge and awareness of the industry. I also made enquiries as to how I could pursue a career in the legal field.
After my degree I worked as an advisor at an advice centre and also did clerking at a criminal law firm prior to commencing the LPC. Once I completed the LPC, I worked as a paralegal for a clinical negligence and personal injury firm before joining Martin Searle Solicitors in January 2007.
What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I have recently completed my final training seat in the employment department. I assist the Head of Employment on a range of contentious and non-contentious issues. I frequently deal with unfair dismissal and race/age/disability discrimination cases, and we act for both employer and employee clients.
What do you most enjoy about your job and are there any downsides? The aspect I enjoy the most about my job is interacting with clients on a day-to-day basis. I also get great job satisfaction especially when I have been involved in the successful outcome of a case.
The only downside to my job is that on rare occasions I have to deal with difficult clients. However, this comes with experience and makes the job more challenging.
What skills do you need to be a successful solicitor? A successful solicitor needs to be organised, personable and have excellent oral and written communication skills. A solicitor also needs to pay great attention to detail, and have a good sense of commercial awareness.
What advice would you give graduates wishing to have a career in law? You will need to think very carefully about whether this is what you really want to do. The route to becoming a solicitor is very difficult, expensive, and should not be entered into lightly. I would also urge graduates to obtain as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision as to whether they want to pursue a career in law. Once the decision has been made, I would advise graduates never to give up, and not to stop until your goals have been achieved.
Is there anything you would like to add? Good luck to all those searching for training contracts. It can take a very long time but if you are determined, motivated and persevere, you will get there in the end. Get whatever work experience you can while waiting for a training contract. Also, it is very important to ensure that your application is tailored to the firm to which you are applying. I understand that three-quarters of the applications for the training contract I got were irrelevant to the firm.