From Biomedical Sciences to Law ...

Harriet Kingston, Solicitor

Law first caught my attention in my final year of my undergraduate degree, in Biomedical Sciences, in 2012.

I was taking a Clinical Chemistry module and writing an essay about ‘Lab on a Chip’ technology. (Essentially this is the miniaturisation of devices that can perform laboratory analysis. Because of their small size they could be used in remote countries to test for disease). However, what captured my attention was the real struggle of actually getting this technology out there, due to the legal obstacles that first had to be overcome. However, I also saw what an important role law played in making these devices available to be used in a way that could positively impact others. Consequently, a lot of my time was actually spent researching and writing about these legal elements, and I suppose this was the first time that I realised exactly how dynamic, diverse and powerful, the legal landscape really was - beyond anything I had ever imagined.

I can honestly say, I have been fascinated by law in general, and have absolutely loved legal research in particular, ever since!

Following my graduation, I undertook the Graduate Diploma in Law at the College of Law in York, I then decided that rather than heading straight into completing the LPC, it was important for me to gain some actual experience of working within the industry. So I took up a role as an industrial disease paralegal at a law firm in Leeds. The role was very demanding, with high expectations, and was often overwhelming. However, it taught me so much about prioritising my time, managing client expectations and the importance of meticulous attention to detail and robust analytical skills. I began building client rapport and settling claims, and I saw how much of a positive impact you can really have on your clients. As someone who has always wanted to find a way to use my knowledge and skills to support people, this was everything to me.

After this, with the aim of gaining experience in a more commercial setting, I spent time as a property paralegal at a law firm in York, before undertaking the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School in Leeds. I came to Rollits as a property paralegal in October 2017 and then trained with Rollits, before qualifying into their Dispute Resolution team.

Dispute Resolution was my last seat, and I knew within weeks that this would be where I would qualify into. You often find yourself supporting and advising clients during a stressful time which can be so rewarding and is the fundamental reason that I came into law. But also, I love the fact that each matter is unique and requires a different tactical approach to achieve the best outcome for your client. I like that on the one hand, you have to apply all sorts of knowledge acquired throughout your legal career, and on the other, you may have to delve into unknown territory, because something completely new has come up. By temperament I am well suited to working under pressure, and have the resilience and grit that are important in order to overcome the challenges that arise in contentious matters.

It’s been a long journey since exploring those legal matters in my clinical chemistry module, to recently qualifying, with a wedding, two children and a lot of studying in between. At times it has been incredibly challenging balancing family life in order to get to this point. Nonetheless, I’ve learned that tenacity and determination are such powerful tools to overcome those challenges. I genuinely believe that the life experiences, and the time I have spent working in different settings, have been central in shaping me into the lawyer that I am today

Posted on: 24/02/2021

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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