We recently caught up with Paige Tugby, a legal advisor at Irwin Mitchell, Paige kindly shared her career highlights, challenges, and hopes for the future.
Why did you choose to become a legal advisor?
As a legal advisor at Irwin Mitchell, you are given the opportunity to learn about different areas of law very quickly. As a law graduate, whilst I knew I had an interest in criminal law, I wanted to be sure!
The legal advisor role certainly helped with that. Secondly, a large part of law is advising people, so it was important for me to get experience of this early on in my career. As an advisor, it was a great opportunity to advise clients and help them resolve their issues.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
The highlight on my career in general was working on a capital punishment case in Florida with Amicus ALJ (but that was outside of working at Irwin Mitchell). Making a small impact on cases which could potentially save someone’s life was an incredible feeling and an experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in criminal law/human rights.
In terms of a career highlight at Irwin Mitchell, it was helping clients reach a resolution. There were many occasions during the last year when clients have contacted me to say that the pre-litigation matters I assisted with, helped them resolve their case out of court. Praise such as this makes the work worthwhile.
Have you faced any challenges throughout your career?
Like many first-generation university students, I have suffered with imposter syndrome, and I am sure as I continue my career at the bar, it will creep in again. I had a perception about who I thought could work at Irwin Mitchell; but I was wrong. Irwin Mitchell is incredibly inclusive and diverse (particularly the legal advice team) and I was made to feel welcome very quickly.
“I am a firm believer that with grit, determination, and ability it is possible to make it into the legal profession; I am proof of that!”
As I move forward in my career, I am learning that things are changing for the better. I am a firm believer that with grit, determination, and ability it is possible to make it into the legal profession; I am proof of that!
I think it is important to remember the positive experiences I have had in the profession whenever I face rejection to try and combat imposter syndrome. I am working on that!
Give us an overview of what you do on an average day?
8:30am – wake up – I have worked from home since starting at Irwin Mitchell.
10:35am – I will usually be advising at least client number 10 by this time in the morning. This could be on a family matter, contract dispute, or a landlord or tenant matter. I won’t often know what the matter is about until I speak to the client.
12:00pm – I will be advising another client on a legal matter, maybe explaining the court process, what will be done to make the application to the court, and any pre-action protocols which we need to comply with.
I could alternatively be doing some research into an area of law if it is unfamiliar to me, so that I can provide accurate advice to my client.
1:00pm – lunch.
6:30pm – I finish work around 6pm. A good thing about the role of a legal advisor is that once work is finished, that is it. I don’t have to take anything home.
What are your goals/plans for the future?
I am currently in the process of moving over to a criminal defence firm to work as a paralegal. I will gain my Police Station Accreditation which will allow me to advise clients at the police station when they have been arrested. After which, I will apply for pupillage and continue my career to the bar. I am looking forward to gaining experience specifically in criminal law, as that is the area I want to specialise in at the bar. There is still a lot for me to learn.
One thing you would have liked to have known before starting your career?
That it is not a race. You might see people around you going from university to the bar course and then to pupillage and wonder why that isn’t you? Whilst, going through that traditional route is great, you don’t have to do it too. We are likely to be working until we are 70/75 years of age. You have a long time at work. Whether you become a solicitor or barrister at ages 25 or 50, you will still have a lot of years in the job.
Choose your own path and don’t be pressured into conforming. I have decided to become a paralegal as I believe it will prepare me well for the bar. I didn’t want to finish bar school and go straight into pupillage with little life experience. That’s a personal choice. It’s important to make the right choice for you!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a legal advisor?
Give it a go! You have nothing to lose by trying it. It is a great opportunity for those who have recently graduated as you have a lot of exposure to different areas of law. This will help you decide where you want to take your career. Most areas of law are different in practice, compared to university so it’s important to try them out.
Secondly, when applying don’t underestimate the non-legal roles you have had. Providing legal advice is largely about how you relay the advice to clients and how you communicate – skills that can be gained from non-legal roles such as waitressing or retail. It’s important to remember those transferable skills when applying for jobs.