Ben Lawson Solicitor Profile
- AuthorBen Lawson
We sat down with Ben Lawson from our Derbyshire office to ask about his days, how he started his career and what advice he can impart for individuals looking to start in law.
Q1. Why did you become a Solicitor?
I have wanted to be solicitor since I was 12, as a boy, my granddad’s friend Mr Hanarrty sparked my curiosity, and allowed me to shadow him in his role as a lawyer in our rural Welsh town. He helped and supported everyone within the community and helped people find solutions to their problems. I realised that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
After visiting court with him, working in his office and aiding in several legal capacities, I pursued my interests that he had helped inspire, years later I would run into him at a conference and tell him over coffee how much he had influenced me.
Q2. What area of law do you specialise in and why did you choose it as a speciality?
Specialising in the financial aspect of family law was not the path I originally started on, initially starting in property law around mortgages and rent.
My interest in family law came from my time as a court duty advisor at Derby County Court. I was involved in more and more family matters and the interest I had had from childhood returned, and made me pursue the area of family law as a specialism. My analytical approach to cases transferred well and now 8 years later I still work within the same field.
Q3. What are the four essential skills you believe a good solicitor should have?
There are a myriad of skills someone needs to be a good solicitor. I believe that the most important aspect is being a good listener, taking on board what the client is saying and how they’re feeling is crucial to your understanding of the case. Alongside this is the ability to effectively communicate, I believe that there is no one size fits all approach, rather its one size fits none. All approaches must be bespoke and unique to each client you interact with. Each client has to be approached differently and being able to convey this across clients of different backgrounds, ethnicities and situations is the only effective way to make sure you are doing your job well.
Within communication, by its nature you need to empathetic, to both what the client is going through and how you approach the case you’re working on. You have to be both understanding and have an emotional neutrality. By taking a step back, you can tell your client what they need to hear not necessarily what they want to hear and this can be difficult when there has been emotional investment within the case itself.
Q4. What does an average day look like for a family lawyer?
In truth there is no average day, the job is so varied that from sitting down in the morning with a to do list, can turn into a day spent drafting a single document. Flexibility is crucial and whilst having a plan will help you plan your day, things can change and being able to adjust to this, will help you manage your work and allow you to maintain control.
Q5. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your professional career?
Alongside getting into the legal profession, my biggest challenge came early on in my career when I was involved in the middle of a case that involved a father trying to achieve contact with his son that had been ongoing for years. The difficulty of the case meant having to put in long hours in order to secure a good outcome.
When the case eventually led to a successful outcome, I met my client outside the courtroom and saw him with his head in his hands break down in tears of joy and embrace me. His case that had been ongoing for years was over and had ended with him getting the outcome he wanted. He hugged and shook my hand, thanking me for my help and that memory is one I still think of today when a case is particularly difficult or I’m facing a new challenge.
Q6. What do you like to do in your free time?
Recently during lockdown, I have been indulging my inner foodie and made amongst other things my own chorizo. With pastries, pretzels and Portuguese custard tarts, not being able to eat different cuisines at restaurants has forced me to get creative.
As an adopted Derby County FC supporter and season pass holder, I often go along to support my local team. As well as playing football, snooker and badminton, I like to watch it and follow the professionals, in particular my team Liverpool.
Q7. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to start a career in law?
I would advise someone to start their career in law for the right reasons. As a mentor to law students at both Nottingham Trent University and University of Derby, I always tell the students that although the work may be hard it is highly rewarding.
As an ex head of the Derby Law Society, I have for several years been helping prospective legal students on following a path that genuinely interests them. By getting work experience, working in different areas and working hard in this competitive industry, you can enter a profession that will make a difference to countless people and help you find a path that will make you happy.
To contact Ben, please click here