I also didn’t fit the mould of a typical trainee. During one interview I was asked if I would have a problem being older than many of my senior colleagues.
Eventually securing a traineeship was a wonderful thing and much to my relief I realised I absolutely loved the profession. My work gave me a sense of purpose that I had never experienced in my previous roles. Having chosen law as a second career I did however put far too much pressure on myself. Note to all trainees present and future, no one expects you to know everything!
Law has never struck me as being male dominated. My experience has shown that, like science, the legal profession has many talented women who know their own mind. I have seen this in commercial practice and in house. Whether you are male or female, having faith in your strengths as a lawyer is important. Being a lawyer can be immensely rewarding but at times it is a stressful career.
That’s why supporting junior colleagues while not shielding them from the pressures of the job is important to me. As a junior lawyer you can be very vulnerable depending on the environment you work in. Being in a team where you can rely on support (and have a laugh) helps when you are having a bad day.
Since I started my career as a lawyer in 2012 there has been much movement towards zero tolerance for bullying and harassment in the work place. The legal field has received its fair share of bad press over the years for “unwanted” behaviours. I think the profession has and must continue to address this, although it would be wrong to single out law as the only profession that needs a bit of a PR make over.
My impression is that the legal industry has done much to modernise its image in the last few years. Morton Fraser has zero tolerance for bad behaviour whether you are a partner or a trainee and this has certainly contributed towards the firm’s placement in the 100 Best Companies to Work For last year. I am relatively new as a manager and every day is a school day learning to bring the best out of my colleagues (and myself). I still love my job so my leap of faith certainly did pay off. I hope to see a continued trend towards diversity in the legal profession. So whether you are entering law straight from university or if it is your second or even third career, everyone can find their place.