Hear from Wilson Browne Solicitors‘ Jess Leech, Family Law 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 for family law?
“My top tips for studying family law is to utilise the brilliant new commentaries that we have on various social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok. They offer some really engaging, easy to understand, useful tips as the law develops and can be a useful source for you to use. I’d also recommend setting up some alerts for key family law phrases such as divorce on various news websites so that you’re alerted as soon as there’s been any developments so that you can stay on top of family law and the most recent changes.”
What are your top tips for getting ahead in your legal career?
“My top tip for getting ahead in your legal career is to really keep an open mind at the start of the process. Often various areas of law are very different in practise to how they are in textbooks, so I originally wanted to be a commercial lawyer, but I believe that you’re the best lawyer when you’re doing something you’re genuinely passionate about, so keep an open mind. Enjoy studying all areas of the law before you really hone in on the section that you want to specialise in because you never know, you just might find something that you weren’t expecting to be interested in.”
What courses have you done whilst working?
“Whilst working, I’m doing a lot of online courses as it’s really useful as it takes up less time. I’m not having to travel which means that I can do the course online and then quickly jump back into running my caseload. So it’s really flexible and it also keeps me up to date with the current law so that I can provide the best advice to our clients.”
What is the benefit for law firms to provide legal training?
“One of the things that attracted me to Wilson Brown Solicitors when I was applied for my training contract was that so many of the partners had trained with the firm. So by doing these training courses during people’s development, starting from the very early stages in the firm such as new enquiries or paralegal level, they’re then developing and progressing. So we’re doing it all essentially in house. It’s keeping our retention levels high while also developing the very best of the staff that we have available to us.”
Do you think the training provided by Wilson Browne sets them apart from other firms?
“What sets Wilson Brown apart from other firms is their commitment to training, especially online. I can think of numerous colleagues, including my colleague Beth and my colleague Sigourney, who both started from secretarial or new enquiries areas who are developing within their role as a result of all this training that’s available to them. That means that they have a really great Wilson Brown ethos that they’ve come from the start and are progressing through, and that’s only made available as a result of the training that Wilson Browne Solicitors offers to its staff.”
How do you study?
“To remember to get your studying done, you have to be really conscious about it. I would create a timetable which not only included when I would be studying, but also including time that I’d spend with family and friends and other hobbies which are just as important as the studying itself. So I would make sure that I had a timetable where I could easily see it. It was usually up on the wall in my bedroom, and I’d often go through and tick off each study session as I completed it.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to juggle everything else on top of your studying, such as time spent with family, friends, and your other hobbies. What you have to remember is it’s just as important as studying itself. You’re only going to be effective while studying if you’re relaxed and have had some downtime, so for that reason you need to make sure that you do timetable that extra time as well as your studying to make sure it’s important. And if you ever feel guilty about doing it, just remember that it’s going to be beneficial in the long run and will make you study a lot more effectively.”
What is your study routine?
“When you develop your own study routine, I think you need to be really honest with yourself as to what works best for you. We’re all individuals. I know that I’m absolutely a morning person and I would therefore make sure that I prioritised all my most difficult and lengthy tasks in the morning, as I know that’s when I’m most productive. I would then schedule any smaller task or things that I’d find much more easy after 3:00 when I know that my concentration can sometimes dip.
How do you stay motivated while studying?
“I think it’s really difficult to stay motivated at all times when studying and I think it really falls more onto discipline. Where motivation falls short you need to be more self disciplined. You need to make sure that you’re remembering your end goal, really picturing yourself as to how you’re going to feel when the studying is over, knowing that it’s not forever, and knowing that it’s all going to be worthwhile. So when your motivation does dip, just remind yourself why you’re doing it and instead fall on your self-discipline, referring to the timetable that you’ve made and also making sure that you make time for yourself so that you can recharge, as will your motivation.”
Do you have any other advice to help those studying law?
“Studying can feel really lonely at times so I’d make sure that you use all of the resources available to you. Speak to colleagues and friends that are going through the same process so that you can share tips. I’d also look at other sites such as YouTube whereby there are studying accounts where they can give you tips as well, and I’d just make sure to find the best way for you to study. So everyone’s studies in different ways. I myself used to like have a whiteboard and used to speak things out loud. Other people like writing. Just find what’s best for you and don’t be worried if it’s not the same as everybody else – we’re all individuals.”
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