GN Stories 

Emily Roome  Family Law Dept.

Emily Roome
Family Law Dept.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR TRAINING CONTRACT?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology at Durham University, and then went on to study the GDL at the University of Law in Moorgate. At this stage, I didn’t have much practical experience working in a law firm and was not sure what area of law I wanted to go into. I got my first paralegal job working in a Banking & Finance firm. It was a brilliant experience and I couldn’t really have asked for a better entry level role, but it did make it clear that corporate law wasn’t for me. I started as a paralegal in the Social Care department at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, having had no idea that law involving child protection even existed! I decided that this was the area of law for me, and started making plans to go on to study the LPC. I studied my LPC at BPP in Red Lion Street and it was there that I met GN at a careers fair.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHT SO FAR AT GNLAW?

I was involved in a matter where we were instructed to appeal an interim decision, so we had to make an application to the Court of Appeal. It was exciting because I hadn’t done one before, and it was really informative working so closely with counsel to prepare it.

WHAT MADE YOU APPLY TO GNLAW?

I came and met the firm at the offices for an open evening and went on to do work experience because of the areas of law which GN offer. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, which really stood out to me. When I was doing work for the solicitors I felt like I was able to input my own suggestions and was taken seriously. It felt like a great working environment and one that I would enjoy being a part of. For me, family law was where my interests lay, and after meeting the senior lawyers in the department it was clear that they were extremely experienced in their field. This was important for my training aspirations as I wanted to be able to learn from the best.

WHAT SEAT ARE YOU DOING AT THE MOMENT?

One of the good things about the training contract at GN is that there is flexibility when it comes to seat choices. The directors will consider your interests and will make that happen as best they can. Also, if there is something you have a particular interest in then there is the option to do an extended seat there too; I am currently doing a yearlong seat in the family department.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN INCOMING TRAINEE?

Too much to write in this little space! For someone who is looking for a training contract, my advice would be not to try and fit a certain mould and to be yourself. I think it is very easy to get lost in the stress of applications and end up just applying anywhere, hoping that someone will say yes. As stressful as it is, it is important to find a firm that is right for you, and that you will get the most out of. You won’t find that if you are always trying to fit in to a stereotype that you aren’t and you won’t be able to keep it up for the whole duration of a training contract! Also – go to careers fairs, they really work.

For anyone who has secured their training contract, firstly, well done! Secondly, although it probably sounds cliché, work hard and get the most out of your training contract. Listen to what your supervisors tell you; generally, they’re telling you for a reason! Also, remember that you are essentially on a 2-year job interview! 


WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR TRAINING CONTRACT?
After completing my undergraduate degree, I did not go straight into studying for the LPC. Instead I wanted to get some real-life experience and ended up working as a Data Analyst for a period of time. However, I always knew that I wanted a career in law so I quit my role as a Data Analyst and then started applying to law firms to get some work experience.

WHAT SEAT ARE YOU DOING AT THE MOMENT?
I am currently doing a combined seat in Wills, Trust and Probate and Court of Protection for six months. It is an interesting mix as I get the opportunity to work on private client cases and also work on Court of Protection cases where the clients are very vulnerable and lack the capacity to make decisions in regards to their finances or welfare. Having done Court of Protection previously for six months as a Paralegal, I wanted to gain further experience in that area as a Trainee Solicitor. I was quite fortunate as my Principle takes into consideration my opinion and what areas of law I want to do, which for me is very important.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHT SO FAR AT GNLAW?
In my second seat of my training contract in the Housing Department, we represented a client in the Central London County Court. I had only been to the Royal Courts of Justice once before on a University trip but here I was now with my very own case and I was only a Trainee Solicitor at the time.

WHAT MADE YOU APPLY TO GNLAW? 
Having finished my LLB degree, I was not convinced that I wanted a career in the corporate sector. I was doing some research on law firms near me and came across GNLAW. What stood out for me were the areas of law they covered, it seemed to be very different to other firms and for me it felt very Community orientated. I was lucky to do work experience at GNLAW, it gave me a great insight in the work environment and the behind the scenes. It was really nice to see that there was mutual respect between all levels of staff from support staff to Directors. For me, the people I work with is very important as you want a have good working relationship with your colleagues. At GNLAW I met some really fantastic people and this made me want to stay even after completing work experience at the firm so I subsequently applied for the Paralegal role.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST ENJOYABLE MOMENT AT GNLAW? 
I have two that really stand out for me. The first moment was when I got my client discharged from a mental health hospital at a Hospital Managers hearing. The second was when the Local Authority accepted the representations I had submitted on behalf of my client and they acknowledged a homelessness duty towards her and her children and rehoused them.

It was a personal high for me, I felt great that I was able to give positive news to my clients. It also made me realise the key role we play for all our clients and if we had not invested 110% in our client’s cases then the decision could have very easily been negative for them.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING FOR GNLAW?
What I like most about working for GNLAW is that I feel genuinely respected by everyone and I feel my opinions are genuinely taken into consideration. We have a great working environment where we speak to one another openly and ask questions without feeling embarrassed. It’s vital when you start off as a junior member in the firm because you most likely will not be that experienced, you will probably need help and will need to ask questions. With GNLAW, other Paralegals, Trainee Solicitors, Solicitors and even the Directors are always willing to take some time out and help you.

HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE AT GNLAW COMPARE TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
It exceeds in every way. The firm has been like a family to me and have helped me grow in confidence and knowledge. I have been lucky enough to work under different supervisors and have been able to pick up and learn good traits from them and use that when working on my own cases. Before I started GNLAW, I did not think as a Paralegal/Trainee Solicitor I would be given a lot of responsibilities but it has been a refreshing challenge. I have had my own cases and have even been able to advocate for clients at Hospital Manager’s hearings whilst I was still a Paralegal. For me, all of the practical experiences I have gained from my time as a Paralegal/Trainee Solicitor have really shaped me up to be a good Solicitor in the future. With these skills, I hope to continue giving my clients a voice and assist them in resolving their problems from the beginning of the case till the end.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN INCOMING TRAINEE?

1. Do not be afraid to ask questions – Your colleagues around you are happy to answer questions, they have all been in your shoes at some point or another.

2. Learn from your mistakes – Everyone is human and will make mistakes but you have to learn from them when you are a Trainee Solicitor so you don’t take the bad habits when you become a Solicitor.

3. Work hard – You might have heard this for the millionth time but it really is the most basic but key attribute in a person. It is recognised and appreciated by everyone at the firm no matter how big or how small the firm is.

Navin Bundhoo  Wills, Trusts & Probate

Navin Bundhoo
Wills, Trusts & Probate