We recently spoke to Natalie Nero, Natalie is a family-solicitor at Machins Solicitors, she kindly shared the pros and cons of her position, how she secured her role and the characteristics needed to become a good solicitor.
Why did you pursue a career in the legal industry?
I felt that a career in law would appeal to the many different aspects I wanted from a career, combining practical problem solving with analytical thinking. The process of starting with a piece of legislation and interpreting the case law in that field to my client’s particular set of circumstances.
I also enjoy studying (which the ever change nature of law provides) but also being forward facing with client’s on a daily basis.
What path you have taken to become a family-solicitor?
I initially completed an A Level in Law. After this I completed my LLB at University before completing my LPC at University of Law. Shortly after this, I secured a job as a family law paralegal which lead to me being offered a training contract with that Firm. The Firm was small which allowed me to focus my training contract in Family Law.
What are the pros and cons of being a family-solicitor?
Pros – It is very rewarding to help someone through one of the most difficult times, putting my knowledge and experience into practice to help them.
Cons – One of the most difficult elements of the jobs is the discretionary nature of family law and the uncertainty that this can bring for a client.
How did you find your current position with Machins Solicitors?
I was approached by a recruitment agency on LinkedIn who felt my profile was suited to the position available. I spoke with the recruiter to learn about the role and, more importantly for me, the Firm itself.
Interview process: Initially I spoke to the recruiter over the phone for an informal discussion about my experience, what I could offer and what I was looking for. I was then invited to an interview at Machins with the head of the Family Department and the head of HR.
The interview itself was fairly informal, it was important to Machins to find someone who suited their culture and this came across in the interview as the questions were focused on me and my work ethic as much as my experience in family law.
After this I was invited back to meet another of the family partners and the managing partner.
What characteristics do you need to be a good solicitor?
In family law especially I think organisation is a great characteristic. The work load of a family solicitor requires the management of deadlines, occasional short notice applications and dealing with clients, courts and third parties.
Additionally, professional empathy is required. Our clients are experiencing a difficult and stressful time and it is important that we empathies with this whilst remaining profession and making the process as easy as possible to navigate.
3 Tips you’d give to someone seeking a solicitor position?
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality. As solicitors we do need to be professional but both client’s and Firms also want a solicitor who is approachable and personable.
- Research the Firms you want to apply to, not just so that you appear knowledgeable in your interview but also to make sure the Firm fits with you and your work ethic
- Ask questions. The law is developed through people challenging the current position and so potential employees will like to see that you can challenge if needed.