At Gedling Legal we’re proud of our skilled and dedicated team, and are committed to continually developing their knowledge, in order to provide our clients with a first class service. In this blog Gedling Legal’s Trainee Solicitor, Sara Fayaz tells us more about her journey to starting a training contract at Gedling Legal.

I didn’t exactly follow a traditional route to becoming a trainee solicitor but I think it’s important for those seeking training contracts, especially those who feel like they’re on their own long and winding road, not to lose heart.  The skills and lessons that you learn in life are useful and transferable to being a trainee.

Although I started out traditionally, studying A-levels, gaining a 2.1 in law, working in a large law firm and then completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC), little did I know that it would be more than 10 years before I would start a training contract.

In the intervening years the recession made finding work, any work, let alone legal work, difficult.  I took a variety of jobs to remain employed and to pay back my LPC fees. Fast forward a few years, I worked for private companies, for the DWP and even lived and worked abroad, finally finding rewarding work in the charity sector.

I started my family, marrying and having two children, I thought that the door into the legal profession had closed.  However, I felt that I had underutilised skills, unused knowledge and unfulfilled ambitions.  I still felt that I had a lot to offer as a solicitor.

I was on maternity leave when I saw a local authority training contract advertised and my first thoughts were ones of doubt.  Doubt that I would be considered when I wasn’t working in legal practice, doubt because of the time that had passed since finishing the LPC and doubt that I could compete with more recent graduates.  However what I’ve learnt since I successfully became a trainee is just how relevant and transferable my life experience is.  Each position I worked in taught me invaluable lessons that are directly applicable to my role as a trainee, for example:

  • Living and working abroad taught me to be flexible, adaptable and willing to face challenges.  This has helped me with the varied workload I have as a local authority trainee.
  • Working for charities taught me the importance of respecting the fact that we are undertaking publicly funded work.  I developed an understanding of the reputational risks of not being prudent and sensible with money provided by the public.  This held me in good stead working for a local authority where there is the same need for accountability and transparency in everything we do.
  • Being a mother taught me patience and understanding.  I honed my ability to multi-task, prioritise and manage my time even when faced with the unexpected.

The key message here is not to lose heart, it’s never too late, even if you feel the road is long and you’ve taken a few turns along the way.  Being a successful trainee, and ultimately solicitor, isn’t only about your knowledge of the law but being able to apply the law to practical, real life scenarios.  Your life experiences, and the skills and knowledge you gain in other sectors will prove invaluable.

To find out more about the team at Gedling Legal please visit our Team Profile section.

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