Joanne Millership Solicitor Profile
- AuthorJoanne Millership
We sat down with Joanne Millership from our Derbyshire offices 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 have wanted to be a solicitor since I was 15 years old. I was heavily influenced by certain TV shows and films based around the legal system, and upon entering higher education, have moved towards making it my career.
The range of legal areas I gained experience in prior to coming to Family Law Group, helped to then filter my passion down into family law, and through my work with local authorities, move towards family and care proceedings. Now, being in a sector I am deeply passionate about, I plan to continue building my accreditations and knowledge to fulfil the dream of my 15 year old self.
Q2. What area of law do you specialise in and why did you chose it as a speciality?
I specialise in care proceeding, these are cases around children and young people. I have always had a drive to help people, and since joining the Children’s Panel, I have been able to carry on delivering the high standards I have always strived for.
After previously working in areas around personal injury, wills and probate, I found myself drawn to the advocacy involved in family proceedings.By being on the ground so to speak, I can have the most impact, by helping clients to turn their cases around and achieve the best outcomes they can.Care proceedings are often very difficult and the skills that I use every day help me to function and provide the level of attention that is required for every legal case I am involved with.
Q3. What are the four essential skills you believe a good solicitor should have?
In any role in the legal profession, you need to have confidence. I have always been a confident person, especially when dealing with cases; you need to have conviction about the outcome both you and your clients want.
This aligns with my next essential skill, assertiveness. This came with the years of experience I acquired in a range of legal areas before settling into family law. In a courtroom you have to professionally convey your argument and being able to assert your arguments can influence the outcome.
When talking to a client however, the assertiveness has to give way to the third skill, empathy. Your clients are often highly stressed and in situations where family and children matters are often being decided. Being able to understand not only your client’s position but the opposing party’s position and working to reach an amicable outcome is the best way for a case to conclude. With all cases and all work you will carry out in the role of a solicitor, the importance of being up to date cannot be understated.
The law is always changing and being up to date on legislation and other areas can massively affect how you approach hearings and meetings. By taking the time to research and stay abreast of these changes, you can provide not only the best possible advice but be able to achieve the best possible outcome.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your professional career?
My biggest professional challenge has without a doubt been my application and successful joining as a member of the Children’s Panel in 2019. I wanted to join this panel, so I could represent not only children and young people, but their guardians too.
After an intense three day training course in London, following a rigorous application process, there was an interviewing and assessment process which took a lot of preparation. I had wanted to join the panel for a number of years and my nerves were understandably high. Dealing with a mock scenario allowed the assessors to see how I would be in a real courtroom, and in keeping a calm and professional demeanour, I was successful.Now I can reflect back, this was one of my biggest accomplishments to date.
Q5. What does an average day look like for a family lawyer?
As a care solicitor, most of my days are spent in court. With three to five days of my week in hearings, I have to be organised around the rest of my work day! The increase of virtual hearings post lockdown has allowed me to balance this with the new way of working with video calls. As the cases get issued, the rest of the day usually consists of meetings and paperwork to prepare for my current or upcoming cases.
The days are never identical and being able to adapt to sudden changes is a necessity to effectively functioning on a weekly basis
Q6. What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to keep my high level of fitness, I usually participate in 10K runs and since the closure of my local gym, I have been keeping up my cardio by trying to run several miles per week. Now they have reopen I will still try and keep my outdoor exercise at a high level as I return to my normal workout routines.
I also regularly go mountain biking and have used lockdown to explore some of the trails around my home. When not exercising, I also like to socialise with my friends and eat out at local restaurants, I love Italian cuisine!
Q7. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to start a career in law?
You have to be determined. The sector is full of competition and getting your foot in the door can be tough. As I built my connections and work experience over the years, I would encourage everyone to do the same.
By getting the experience you need to make sure you stand out when applying for roles you have a better chance of getting into this highly competitive industry.The hard work will pay off and being able to make a positive difference, has led to me living out the career I dreamed of since I was a teenager. Every day, I am inspired to be at the top of my game and work to achieve the best outcome in every one of my cases.
To contact Joanne, please click here