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Starting a career in family law

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After studying a Masters in Law this year, I became determined to pursue an area of law which would actively make a difference to people’s lives. This is when I became intent on following a career in family law.

I had struggled to find placement or work experience opportunities which would accommodate exposure to family law, and I began to feel as though a career in family law was inconceivable given the struggles obtaining relevant work experience.

However, after reaching out to a former Paralegal at Family Law Group, my luck changed. I was able to secure an interview within a week and was offered four-weeks work experience immediately upon completion of my master’s degree. This felt like the much-needed opportunity to finally kickstart my career in family law.

What had started as a long shot, quickly evolved into my golden ticket into law. The exposure which I received to all aspects of family law during those four weeks was invaluable.

I was placed in the Care department, assisting Megan, an Associate Solicitor, and Keri-Anne, a trainee Solicitor. I was dreading being placed in a department that felt corporate, hierarchical, and intimidating, given past experiences which my peers had. However, this anxiety could not have been further from the truth. It was immediately apparent that the whole firm is founded on a fundamental level of respect for each other, which is crucial, giving the harrowing nature of cases being dealt with daily. The whole office presented as lively, buzzy, and friendly. This immediately put me at ease, and meant I was confident in asking questions and ensuring I was able to get as much out of these four weeks as possible.

Within my first week, I was tasked with considering documents, writing attendance notes, and drafting letters to clients. As someone highly motivated to make a difference to people’s lives, being thrown straight into the main tasks of the job, was not only thrilling, but fulfilling as I was making an impact, even on work experience. What struck me immediately, was how fast paced, varied, and compelling the cases were. This is something which initially felt intimidating, but I was surprised at how seamlessly you naturally adjust to this tempo.

Within the following weeks, my confidence grew further, and I felt fully engaged in the cases I was working on and was eager to help more.

I was tasked with consulting clients regarding updating recommendations from various public bodies, relating to the future care of their children. This is something I was initially anxious about, but was able to learn quickly, and gradually my confidence grew in engaging with clients on my own. At the start of my work experience, I did not anticipate how quickly I would feel comfortable liaising with clients, and I am extremely grateful for the exposure given.

I was also fortunate enough to sit-in on various client meetings, as well as Court Hearings. This gave me an incredible level of insight into how complex legal principles are both made tangible to clients and applied within the Court arena. This was highly motivating to witness and re-affirmed my end goal to pursue a career in family law.

After just four-weeks of experience, I felt fully immersed as a small cog in the workings of the Family Law Group machine. I gained an unimaginable exposure to family law, which made a pronounced mark on my future legal career path. I am now more determined than ever to pursue a career in family law, after my experience at such an efficient and welcoming firm.

I was over the moon to then be offered a permanent role, at the end of my four-weeks’ experience, to assist in the Care team as a Paralegal. I have been working in the Care team for just under six months, and have been finding it thoroughly enjoyable, albeit challenging. I have also most recently accepted a place on the firms’ SQE apprentice programme. Family Law Group offer a 30-month apprentice programme to help train and support employees through the SQE process, and in, ultimately, qualifying as a solicitor. It is hoped, that with the firms continued support throughout this process, I will be able to be admitted onto the Roll of Solicitors by 2024

Posted by Hannah Roberts, Paralegal