My journey to becoming a solicitor at MSB

Choosing a career in law can be a daunting prospect, especially when you consider the years of education, training, and work experience. At the age of 22 however, I made the decision to change career paths and take the leap into law.

Here’s how it went…

2018-2019: Law Degree

In 2018, I had been out of university for a year, English degree in hand, working at a local bank processing PPI claims. It paid well, I loved the team and the 7-3 shift pattern, but it simply wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I decided to take the plunge – I quit my job and went back to university full time. I started my master’s in law in the September of 2018 and realised quite quickly that it was going to be an intense course.

The degree included most of the topics covered across a three-year law degree, but they were packed into one year. The tutors even prefaced the course by letting everyone know it was not for the faint hearted. While I was in the process of writing my dissertation, I began to look for a job and came across an opening at MSB’s Cheshire office.

2019-2020: Paralegal

I started with MSB as a Paralegal in the Social Housing team in 2019. At the time, my role was to assist the disrepair team, Louise Murphy and Tom Stockton, with their file management and admin.

I gelled with the team immediately and knew this was where I wanted to progress my career. By October 2019, I had been offered my training contract to start the following year – and so, the countdown began!

I worked with several solicitors in the office, assisting on Housing Management matters, while keeping my focus on progressing my disrepair knowledge.

In March 2020 when the first COVID lockdown began, I was trusted with the role of being the sole presence in the Cheshire office. It was a big responsibility, but one I was happy to be tasked with as it proved the trust my firm had in me and my ability.

I managed all work required to be carried out in the office, printing documents for filing and service, processing incoming post and manning the phones. It was a very strange time, and by the end I was excited to see my colleagues back in the office.

2020-2022: Trainee Solicitor

In September 2020, I began my role as a Trainee Solicitor with MSB. At the same time, I started the Legal Practice Course which deals with the practical side of being a solicitor and is mandatory for qualification – definitely not for the faint hearted!

I would work as a trainee between 9-5 and attend classes Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5-9. It was important from the outset to stay organised and on top of both roles.

Alongside both responsibilities, I also had to arrange and attend Professional Skills Course classes which is an SRA requirement to qualify. These involved networking with trainee solicitors nationwide, role-playing legal scenarios such as negotiations and trials, and partaking in a finance exam – which admittedly was more daunting than all the law exams put together!

Present: Newly Qualified Solicitor

It would be disingenuous to say that it was an easy two years, however I enjoyed every minute. It was intense, it tested my patience and my motivation; being a solicitor requires determination that at times, I wasn’t sure I had. But as I write this, I have been a qualified solicitor for 10 days and can confirm it is worth the hard work and late nights.

While it’s easy to compare yourself to others in your situation and wish that you were further along in your career, it’s important to remember that everyone’s timeline is different, whether it takes less or more time, or it’s through an alternative route, such as the SQE or apprenticeships.

I am very grateful to MSB and the Social Housing team for giving me the opportunity to train with them and for their ongoing support and encouragement over the last few years. Now I look forward to what the future holds as a newly qualified solicitor.

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