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Why I chose law as a career and my journey so far

View profile for Caroline Clay
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We are pleased to be able to share blogs written by our staff, talking about their job role, working at our firm and their career progression at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors.

In this blog by Caroline Clay, Trainee Solicitor at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, she answers questions about her journey into law as a career and her role as a Trainee Solicitor.

She has demonstrated how our Values (#ClientCentred, #ContinuousImprovement, #Citizenship, #CommunityFocus) are embraced by us in our day to day roles and activity.

Thank you to Caroline for sharing her journey so far.

What has been your journey into law so far?
Many people have rather asked me, when did you know that you wanted to be a Solicitor? I began considering the legal sector as my chosen career when I began studying A Level Law. Here I developed a passion and understanding that law touches our daily lives without people consciously recognising this. I furthered my studies and graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2016. Whilst studying, I became a member of the Law Clinic which offered pro bono advice to the local community, and I also became a member of the University’s Street Law programme which involved volunteering to teach law in local schools to children of varied ages (#CommunityFocus).

I had exposure to legal practice throughout my time at university having undertaken work experience with a firm based in York, and through volunteering as a Career’s Officer with the University’s Law Society.

I completed the Legal Practice Course in 2017 and joined the legal sector as a Junior Paralegal with a firm based in West Yorkshire. I then joined Crombie Wilkinson as a Paralegal in the Commercial Department in September 2018. I moved to the Residential Conveyancing team in March 2019 to continue working as a Paralegal before commencing my training contract.

Training Contract
I am currently in my second seat, working with the Family department, having already spent 8 months in the Residential department. It feels strange to say that I am halfway through my Training Contract, and I look forward to how I may further develop my skills over the remaining months (#ContinousImprovement).

My time at Crombie Wilkinson has prepared me for legal practice on qualification, however I always believe that the team at Crombie Wilkinson is focused on supporting each other as well as their clients, so I have no doubt that I will continue to be supported even after qualification and throughout my career.

Achievements so far
I re-joined Crombie Wilkinson during the pandemic and my first seat was in the Residential team. The conveyancing sector of practice saw unprecedented demand during this time due to the Stamp Duty Holiday which came to an end just as my seat did. I was able to provide additional support to the team by sharing the caseload and was able to help our clients through the conveyancing process with as little disruption as possible. I was given additional responsibility in this department due to my previous experience in property practice which enabled me to experience a wide variety of transactions including, purchases, sales, first registrations and leasehold transactions. I enjoyed my time in the Residential team and the high demand of work enabled me to develop key skills which I have been able to demonstrate in my Family seat.

What have you enjoyed about your Family seat
We offer our client’s a range of support through various issues, such as divorce, childcare proceedings, disputes over children or victims of domestic violence. This is an extremely difficult time for these clients, and I have enjoyed being able to legally assist those clients but have found it rewarding to sometimes just lend a friendly ear. I have learned how important it is for clients to know that we are always available for them and for them to feel that there is someone always in their corner. I am grateful I have been able to be part of a team which provides excellent levels of service and to see our clients achieve their wishes in such difficult circumstances. My experience in the Family department has been invaluable in both my professional and personal development.

Looking forward
I am due to move to my final seat in the coming months (the time of writing this blog is March 2022) and I am looking forward to experiencing a new area of practice and putting the skills I have learnt from my previous two seats to good use.