My Career in Law

Alison Benson, Associate

Following completion of a Sociology degree at Edinburgh University I decided to work for a few years before taking a place on a law conversion course at The College of Law in York.  In these intervening years I worked as a Welfare Adviser at Leeds University which provided me with real life working experience whilst enjoying the regeneration of Leeds in the late 90’s!

However, I had always thought I would like to be a solicitor as I was drawn to a profession which would stay with me throughout my working life.  So I returned to study for 2 years before obtaining a training contract at a firm in Hull - I am from Driffield and was keen to return to this area.  I stayed there 10 years before joining Rollits.

Being a little older and having worked in an advice role really helped me settle into my training contact and I have never found the delayed start a disadvantage. I enjoyed my experience and at the end chose Family Law. I was attracted to it as I am interested in people and found the variety of work within that one area of law stimulating.  You rarely have a day where you do not interact with a client or other professionals.   Some days are filled with meetings, some days I go to Court, some days are spent planning, managing, negotiating and drafting documents as I manage my clients journey through their separation - it is usually a mix of all these. I represent clients in both financial and children disputes and I get fulfilment advising and guiding clients at a difficult time in their lives as well as helping them plan for the future using Pre Nuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements.

During my career I have trained as a Family Mediator and run this practise along side my legal one - this requires me to put on a different “hat”, one where I don’t give advice but is another rewarding aspect of Family Law and a process I very much believe in. I am also a Collaborative Lawyer, another “hat” I can utilise to help resolve disputes. I enjoy problem solving and being solution focused and working in the legal sector gives me that.

There are so many different subject areas open to you with a career in the law and so many different types of firm you can work with that, certainly at the beginning it is a very flexible career - there really is something for everyone. My main advice to anyone starting their career in law is to find an area you enjoy and keeps you interested - not just where there may be a job. It may feel a little scary holding out for this but I firmly believe will pay dividends for you in the future - our working life is a long time doing something which does not hold our attention - especially during the long hours, difficult relationships and changes in the law and working practice which will inevitably come. I certainly never thought I would attend a virtual court hearing from my home office! I would also say, keep up an interest outside the law.  Being a solicitor is incredibly rewarding but it is also all consuming - a career which perpetrates your life, having an outside interest is a great way to balance this.

Posted on: 22/02/2021

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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