Thinking of a career in law? Hayley Collinson, solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors, tells us a bit more about working in the legal industry, how she became a solicitor and what a typical day at a law firm is like…
Name: Hayley Collinson
Company: Hudgell Solicitors
What is your job: Solicitor
How long have you worked here? Since April 2009
University: University of Hull
Degree Subject: Law
A-Levels: English, history, law and general studies.
AS-level: English literature
What was your very first job?
My first job was working for the family business. I started working for dad as a Saturday girl in one of his shops at the age of 13. It was not very glamorous but I enjoyed earning my own money.
I worked for my dad’s business up until I left law school, which was when I was 22. I also worked in a local pub while at university and I have very fond memories of my time there.
What did you want to do when you were at school?
For as long as I could remember I wanted to work in the legal sector. I am sure when I was in infant school I probably wanted to be a Disney princess but soon realised that was not a feasible career.
What made you want to do your current job?
I had a legal career in mind after I did a work experience placement at a local solicitors firm when I was 15. I then decided to take law at A-level, which helped me feel confident in my choice when I chose a law degree at university.
What is a typical day at work like?
There is no typical day, which is probably why I enjoy this area of law. One day I could be representing a family at an inquest, another day I could be more office-based, drafting documents and reviewing medical records.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I like the variety of work clinical negligence offers. Reading medical records, carrying out research and obtaining medical reports on specialist medical issues is very interesting.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Clinical negligence lawyers can come under scrutiny in the press especially regarding pay-outs that are made by the NHS in clinical negligence claims in both compensation and legal costs.
Often the statistics that are quoted fail to give any indication of the seriousness of the claimant’s injury and the length of time the NHS has taken to make any admissions of negligence to settle the claim.
What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Firstly I would say do not give up, it is not always easy to become a qualified solicitor given the number of graduates each year, so be prepared when you embark on your LPC that you may have to do a paralegal or assistant role before you secure a training contract.
I would also recommend that law graduates start applying for training contracts the summer before they start their final year at university because some contracts are advertised two years in advance.
Work experience placements can also be a great way to secure a contract.
What things do you wish you’d known before starting your law career?
I wish I had considered taking a year out before law school and working in a law firm to gain some work experience. I think this would have benefited me prior to commencing the legal practice course and it would have been great experience for my CV when applying for training contracts.
Where would you like to be in five years?
Working at Hudgell Solicitors in the clinical negligence department perhaps in a more senior role than I am now but still fee earning and achieving positive results for my clients.
Think a job in the legal industry could be for you? Find out more about a career in law.