Anisha Patel Solicitor Profile
- AuthorAnisha Patel
We sat down with Anisha Patel from our Northampton office, to ask about her days, how she started her career, and what advice she can impart for individuals looking to start in law.
Q1. Why did you become a Solicitor?
I knew I wanted to become a solicitor after my first job at a law firm when I was 16. Since then, I have only had legal-related jobs which always incorporated an element of family law and I soon realised I liked the challenging and complex nature that family law entails.
I enjoy discovering the intricacies of each unique and individual matter and building a case with the facts that you have, the legal framework, and case law to obtain the best outcome for your client. The uniqueness of each case means that they have their own individual set of circumstances and so the process and your approach to the case in hand, must change accordingly.
Q2. What area of law do you specialise in and why did you choose it as a speciality?
I specialise in private law which comprises of divorce, finances for married couples and unmarried cohabitants, and domestic abuse. I also advise on cases relating to children where there is a dispute between the parents. I have always wanted to specialise in family law because I am passionate about helping people. Clients seeking family law advice are likely to be going through a difficult time and these difficulties can be heightened if meeting legal costs is a concern.
I feel honored to be a part of Family Law Group who offers Legal Aid (public funding) to eligible clients, allowing me to help the most vulnerable people in society.
Q3. What are the four essential skills you believe a good solicitor should have?
I feel that legal knowledge is the first essential skill all solicitors should have. Being up to date with changes to the law and case law is key. This will make a difference to the case you are handling, and so continual self-development will only help you provide accurate advice and achieve the best result for your client.
Communication is vital. It is important not only to ensure your client understands the advice you are offering and the approach being taken in their case; but to also listen to your client’s needs and the outcome they are wishing to seek. Striking the right balance of empathy and firm advice is central to a good working relationship with clients.
A good solicitor needs to be able to organise themselves, their workload and be able to work effectively; family law has a tendency for urgent and unexpected issues to crop up at any given time.
Finally, attention to detail. The slightest omission or missing detail can change the direction of a case and cause unwelcome implications. This is especially crucial in finance-related cases where the smallest oversight can make a difference.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your professional career?
My biggest challenge was securing a Training Contract to qualify as a solicitor. After graduating with a 2:2 law degree, I have worked extremely hard to build on my existing experience and demonstrate my strong capabilities as a solicitor. I was fortunate to obtain a 3-year stint as a paralegal at a niche family law firm in Central London where I worked on a variety of multifaceted cases.
With a great sense of determination, persistent hard work, and believing in myself, I was able to secure and complete my Training Contract; a great achievement, both professionally and personally.
After qualifying in September 2020 and joining Family Law Group in November 2020, I am in an excellent position to use all my experiences to advise and assist my clients.
Q5. What does an average day look like for a family law lawyer?
As many family law lawyers would say, there is no such thing an average day! I always find I plan my day ahead but due to the nature of the role, my planned day rarely goes to plan. Being flexible and organised are crucial attributes, but most importantly, being adaptable is a must. Over my time in the legal sector, the people who can adapt to this change are able to better balance their workloads and as a result be more consistent with their services.
Q6. What do you like to do in your free time?
I am fortunate to live close enough to London to explore the vibrant city but I also have the countryside on my doorstep too. During all the lockdowns, I have discovered some great countryside walks and found a new love for yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
I am also passionate about helping people outside of my professional work life. I have previously volunteered at a suicide respite centre, at a school in Bangalore and raised £1,500 for Macmillan Cancer Research by completing my first 5k open water swim. Since October 2019, I have also been involved with a charity called SHOUT, a 24-hour text in mental health service.
Q7. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to start a career in law?
My advice is to get as much experience as possible and as early on as possible. Having a variety of legal admin roles and being a paralegal before my Training Contract put me in really good stead for life as a trainee and a solicitor. Excellent academia is always going to help you but that will only get you so far compared to real-world experiences.
Ultimately, I would say; be prepared to work hard, the legal industry is very competitive so despite any rejection you may face, never give up and always keep believing in yourself.
To contact Anisha, please click here.