Hear from Wilson Browne Solicitors‘ Gemma White, Trainee Solicitor, about her journey to a career in law, what inspired her, and how she succeeded in her online training.
What are your study tips?
“My main tips for studying anything to do with Court of Protection would be to start by actually applying it. So I would probably go online, find the forms, have a look over them and actually just try and be quite practical about it because it’s quite a hands on practical kind of job. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying a textbook and reading it cover to cover because the textbook will never cover every single circumstance you’re going to come across.”
What attracted you to law?
“When I was at school, I had a teacher that really inspired me. He had previously been a lawyer himself and then had retrained as a teacher. And he just had a completely different way of thinking to all my other teachers. He was a very logical and practical person and he just really inspired me actually to want to be a lawyer myself.”
Why Court of Protection?
“I was drawn to the Court of Protection role initially based on the fact that you basically care for people and do legal work at the same time. It’s like a dual role. I get so much job satisfaction out of working in the Court of Protection team and I get to go home every single day knowing that I’ve done a really good thing for somebody. Even if that person doesn’t necessarily completely understand or know what I’ve done, I know that I’ve done a really good thing for someone.”
How does the firm benefit from supporting training?
“There’s a real benefit to the firm to support us through our training because it leads to fantastic job satisfaction. It boosts morale, but also you’re supporting that person to train and progress in their career and then hopefully stay with Wilson Browne for the entirety of their career because you guys have helped them to be the lawyer and to train them to be exactly how you want them to be as an employee and as part of the firm.”
What is it like to study a course online?
“I really enjoyed studying my course online. It gave me great flexibility. It meant that I could do it around my working hours. It meant that I didn’t have to travel to a place to learn – I could do it at home, I could do it in the office. I could really do it wherever I was if I just needed to get my laptop out and just sign on. And so I think that there’s great benefits to managing your course online and having that flexibility.”
How do you fit in your studying?
“So when I started my online course, I made sure that I started by producing a schedule and making sure that I stuck to that the whole time that I’m studying. I made sure to even schedule breaks and downtime so that I didn’t overdo it or burn myself out. So my biggest advice to anyone who’s going to be studying a course solely online is to have a schedule, schedule downtime and stick to it.”
How do you prioritise and keep a work-life balance?
“I had to prioritise my job and my learning online during the bulk of the two year course. The way I got through it really was that it was only two years and I had to sacrifice a little bit of my social life or maybe seeing everyone and doing everything that I wanted to do during the two years. But I like I say, I always scheduled some downtime, always made sure that I had something scheduled in that week, even if it was only a couple of hours to just do something for myself or with somebody that I wanted to.”
What was your typical study routine?
“During my time online, I had a schedule which was basically every day I would wake up at around 6:00 in the morning. I would sit down and make sure I did a solid one and a half hours of studying before I got ready and came to work. And then I would do it at work, come home. I would have some downtime to have some dinner, maybe watch a bit of TV. And then around about 8:00 PM I would do another hour or an hour and a half of study. Then I tended to schedule in one full weekend every month, which was dedicated to studying, catching up on things that I may have not got round to doing during the week or, you know, two, like Saturdays or two Sundays a month if my schedule needed to be slightly amended. But I made sure I dedicated two full days, 9:00 to 5:00 to study, and to make sure everything was completely up to date.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
“If I could give myself one piece of advice before I started with my training it would be to be more confident. I lacked so much confidence in myself. I didn’t think I would make it. I really thought I just, it was just a bit of a dream and I would never achieve it. And I think I held myself back maybe by a couple of years, really, in the sense that I didn’t know if I wanted to start my LPC, didn’t know if I wanted to work in a law firm, wasn’t sure if it was for me. But as soon as I grew that confidence and believed in myself, I’ve flourished massively.
“And in my particular role, if I could give someone advice about doing that, about their career in law, I would say that doing an online course, it offers you so much flexibility. It’s so much easier than having to factor in all that travel time, all that additional time. I think my other words of advice would be try not to focus on things that you don’t think will actually help you at the end. You know, don’t waste your time on a mind map or bullet points if you’re never going to read them again or you’re never going to use them. Really save your time. And I think the online courses really give that benefit. They enable you to save time, they enable you to have more personal time, more social time. And like I say, you get to work it around you. If you have an evening where you don’t want to do anything, you don’t have to, but you just need to make sure that your factor your time in to make sure you get everything done that you need to.”
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