I have never run a marathon but my journey to qualify as a solicitor is what I imagine running one would feel like. (My friends and colleagues may call me dramatic…)
This has been a journey of highs and lows, thankfully being cheered on by my family, friends, and colleagues along the way. I am hoping to give you a brief insight into this “marathon” journey with the aim of encouraging others to embark on similar journeys (time to get a cup of tea, some snacks, and settle in).
I joined Maven in 2017 as a young professional with limited experience or knowledge of the financial sector. However, I was very curious and eager to learn. The Legal Department was new and there was a lot of work to get involved with. Early on, I was trusted to take ownership of various challenging tasks and projects. I was encouraged to be creative, build processes from the ground up and find efficiencies in working methods.
As a Legal and Compliance Assistant, I took on responsibility for the onboarding, due diligence, and review of over 300 broker relationships. I also assisted with the day-to-day running of the Legal Department (e.g. reviewing contracts, preparing advisory notes, conducting legal research, training employees, drafting and implementing processes and policies…) as well as being involved in project work. When I was promoted to Paralegal; my focus shifted further on the legal workstreams and the training of newer members in the team.
My development within the firm has been an ongoing collaboration with my manager from the start. He has always been supportive of my aspirations to qualify as a solicitor, however, it was new for Maven and we had to work out how I could achieve this goal in a way that would work for the firm and myself.
Growing and qualifying with Maven
In 2019, I went back to studying for the first time since university to complete my Legal Practice Course. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into.
For 2 years, I studied and worked part-time. I had to learn how to find a balance between my work, study, and personal life. I wanted to excel at everything, but it was a difficult balance and did not always go as planned. Being a social butterfly, I had to trade countless dinners, drinks, and social events, for evenings in with my books for company. Most of my annual leave was spent preparing for exams and my weekends and evenings were spent studying.
At times, I felt isolated and struggled to stay focused and motivated. However, in practice, I was never alone. I remember studying in the evenings near our traders covering US hours and my colleagues from Finance and Tax taking some of their personal time to help me understand certain topics I was struggling with.
Once I finished my studies, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to do a secondment in a law firm, Lewis Silkin, where I spent 3 months learning from extremely talented lawyers. I helped prepare cases before trial, attended court hearings, and conducted legal research. It was very different from the work we do at Maven and it helped me to develop new skills.
When I came back to Maven, I arduously and diligently prepared and submitted the lengthy application required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as evidence of my legal training over the past 4 years, to prove that I could qualify as a solicitor of England and Wales.
On 1st October 2021, I finally received confirmation of my admission as a Solicitor and the celebrations could begin (and are still ongoing to this date).
Beginning of a new chapter
I am grateful to be part of a company that supported my development and growth over the years. I am also grateful for the support of my colleagues who played an important part in my journey, encouraging me, helping me, and believing in me when I struggled to believe in myself. Although it was a challenging journey, I would strongly encourage others to commit to enhancing their own skillset. With dedication, some sacrifices, and the support of your network, anything can be achieved!