Imrana Masters Solicitor Profile
- AuthorImrana Masters
We sat down with Imrana Masters from our Peterborough 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 had a general interest in Law from a young age which was the reason why I applied to Nottingham Trent University to study LLB Law. During the course of my studies, I did some voluntary work at law firms which provided me with a great insight into the different fields in the profession, but especially Family Law. I came to realise that by becoming a solicitor, I would be in a very privileged position to make a difference to people’s lives. Although it would be hard work and extremely challenging, it would clearly be a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Q2. What area of law do you specialise in and why did you choose it as a speciality?
My specialisms encompass divorce, financial matters, domestic abuse and Private Law Children cases. When I was starting in the legal sector, as expected, I enjoyed my work in family law the most. My principal at the time, saw my passion and commitment and encouraged me to pursue a career in this field of law. Over the years I began working with victims of domestic abuse. Through my own efforts, I have built relationships with local refuges and the charities supporting victims of domestic abuse. I have been involved with a wider variety of cases which involve working with some of the most vulnerable people in society. In this regard, I feel fortunate to be working for the Family Law Group, one of the very few Law firms that offer legal aid.
Q3. What are the four essential skills you believe a good solicitor should have?
A good solicitor needs to have many good qualities. I believe one of the key requisites of a good solicitor is to have excellent listening skills. Every client wants their solicitor fighting their corner, they need to have your full attention and focus and have the opportunity to relay all their issues without unnecessary interruptions. As a large percentage of communication is also non verbal, you also need to be good at picking up messages that are conveyed by the client’s behaviour and body language during meetings and engage accordingly.
Clear and concise verbal communication skills are also imperative in this field. Often, the client is highly emotive about the situation and may fail to see the wider picture. The client may be determined to pursue a particular course of actions or be somewhat unrealistic in his/her outlook. As their solicitor, it is our job to make them aware of all possibilities and to help them decide on a course of action which maximises their chance of a favourable outcome. Presenting the options clearly enables an accurate understanding of their legal position which can give them the strength and motivation to make tough choices where necessary to achieve the best outcome.
Independence whilst maintaining empathy towards the client is also a pre-requisite in this line of work. Family law cases, due to their very nature are very emotive for all parties. However, it’s important not to lose focus of the main objectives and to help the clients manage their expectations. The professionalism of a solicitor is also critical to their success as the client needs to have 100% confidence that his/her affairs are being managed efficiently and accurately at all times.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your professional career?
My biggest challenge came very early on in my career and involved changing and managing my own solicitor/client expectations. Due to the highly emotive nature of our work, people can often look for someone to blame at times of hardship and as a young inexperienced solicitor, I was distressed to learn this anger can at times be directed at their solicitors. Consequently, I quickly developed a thick skin that has enabled me to separate my professional life and personal life. This has always kept me in good stead.
Q5. What does an average day look like for a family lawyer?
An average day doesn’t exist. Everyday brings its own priorities and challenges. I draw up a rough action plan every morning which details the urgent ‘must do’ tasks along with all other matters that need to be addressed and work through them as best I can. However, there’s always a need to be flexible as new matters of varying degrees of urgency can arise at any time. The COVID-19 crisis means remote working and virtual hearings/meetings have now become the norm. As these can now be done from home, the extra time gained means I can spend longer working for my clients.
Q6. What do you like to do in your free time?
My weeks are hectic and so my free time is spent focusing on de-stressing and preparing for the new week ahead. I spend my free time with my family and our kitten Sylvester. In the evenings I like to settle down to watch TV, in particular real life crime programmes and documentaries. Before lockdown, I also loved going out to try new cuisines with my friends and family and I am looking forward to resuming that. I also enjoy going to the theatre, the cinema, reading and travelling.
Q7. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to start a career in law?
The legal sector can be very competitive and opportunities can be few and far between. The best thing to do is gain as much experience as you can. Voluntary work and shadowing can also help you to build your knowledge and stand you out from the competition. By participating in extracurricular activities, you can broaden your horizons to areas of the sector you may be interested in. Law is a great degree to have, and the wide range of sectors it encompasses means that the possibilities for a legal career are endless!
To contact Imrana, please click here