This is a story of two sisters who took very different routes into their chosen career - law.
For many careers it's no longer as simple needing to get a degree to get into a career. It's important do your research about the routes open to you and to choose the path that suits you - your interests, your personality and how you learn.
Louise is a Chartered Legal Executive and advocate at Edward Hayes and a CILEx regional development officer. She is described by her younger sister as the ‘dare devil’ of the two.
Recognising that she was more practical than academic, she went to college after her GCSEs to do a two-year BTEC national diploma in public services. This sparked her interest in the law and she went on to work at a magistrates’ court, processing court files and dealing with enquiries. She met lots of solicitors as part of her job. One day she was offered a job as secretary for Christopher Hayes (managing partner at London and regional firm Edward Hayes).
She said candidly: ‘I had never trained as a legal secretary and didn’t have a clue what I was doing.’
The firm recognised her ability at dealing with clients, particularly difficult ones, so offered her an alternative job as a case worker in the criminal team. They also sponsored her to train for a CILEx qualification.
Gradually she qualified; first as a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer, then as a criminal advocate before completing the Law Society’s duty solicitor qualification.
Now Louise does the same work in the magistrates' court as a criminal solicitor and has worked on high profile murder cases.
She says: 'I co-defend with solicitors in trials and no one knows the difference – we are doing exactly the same job. No client has ever said they don’t want me to represent them because I’m not a solicitor. They watch you in court and see you are going to fight for them'.
Georgina is a family solicitor at Edward Hayes. She is described by her older sister as the ‘perfect daughter’.
She took the traditional path towards a legal career, studying for A-levels before studying law at Oxford Brookes University.
After university, she completed the legal practice course (LPC), before completing a training contract with Edward Hayes and qualifying as a solicitor. Georgina now works in the firm’s family department, representing parents and grandparents on public law children cases.
She shares her sister’s view that it does not matter which qualification an individual has gained. She says neither the firm nor anyone else is bothered whether someone is a solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive. ‘We are both just lawyers,’ she says.
WHAT THE SISTERS THINK OF THEIR CHOICES
The sisters have no regrets about the route that they took, although Georgina does admit she might think twice about university now given the increase in tuition fees.
‘The routes suited our personalities,’ says Georgina. ‘I liked doing a degree and the academic side. Louise may have liked the social side of university, but not attending the lectures. She is more practical.’
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
With so many options, it can be daunting to know the right path to take. Take time to research the options available to you for your chosen career so that you can pick the route that will suit you before you jump into something.
There are career guidance programmes available which can help you by offering an impartial voice and providing you with the latest advice on how to get into a career.
Futurewise supports young people (aged 15 - 19) to explore their career aspirations and make informed decisions about subject choices, higher education, alternative pathways and future employment. Find out more here.