If I am honest, being a solicitor is not something that I ever dreamt of doing as a child. I flitted from wanting to be a pathologist, paramedic, police officer, to joining the Royal Air Force as a legal officer later on in my education. I never saw myself as someone who would predominately sit at a desk for a living. It is fair to say that I always imagined being in a career where I could help people, feel a sense of achievement and feel that I was making a difference.
I enrolled at the University of Lincoln in 1999 to study Law and Criminology with the intention of joining the Police Force. I loved my degree and time at university and found myself favouring my law lectures over my criminology lectures. At the end of my degree, I decided to enroll at the College of Law in York to study the Legal Practice Course. At this point my heart was still set on becoming a police officer but I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to have another qualification under my belt.
After thoroughly enjoying my time in York, I was offered the chance of a training contact with a firm in my hometown, and I took it. I remember my training contract very fondly I made good friends and learned a lot about the law and myself. I qualified into the Personal Injury Department and the thought of becoming a police officer was less prevalent in my mind.
As much as I loved working for that firm by 2005 my personal circumstances had changed, and I was looking to move to Lincoln. I also decided around that time that Personal Injury Law was not for me, and I was looking for a new challenge.
Starting at Bridge McFarland
I am still to this day extremely surprised and grateful that Bridge McFarland accepted me for an interview for a position in the Commercial Property Department at the Lincoln office. I arrived with only a very short seat in the Commercial Property Department of my previous firm as experience in property work, but I was confident I had the attributes to do well in the department, and to my further surprise I was invited back for a second interview with Paddy McFarland, our then Managing Partner, and Stephen Oldridge, our current Managing Partner. I can only assume that I bowled them over with my charm, confidence and enthusiasm to learn as I really wasn’t qualified for the job, and yet I found myself joining the firm in March 2006, and I loved it.
I have specialised in all types of commercial and residential property transactions since joining the firm in 2006. I have also been lucky to work in nearly all of our offices at one time or another, which has given me a really good insight into the firm. It never ceases to surprise me how different each office is despite all working to the same policies and procedures. One thing is consistent across the board, we are very lucky to have an amazing team of people who all work so hard on a daily basis to provide an excellent service to our clients and to have partners who are not only dedicated to the growth and progression of the firm but who genuinely care about their staff (no one made me say that!).
Working in Commercial Property Law
Over the years I have built up a raft of experience in property matters. Anyone who works in the property field will know that it is hard work, really hard work, but it is worth it. There is a genuine sense of achievement with every successful transaction, especially those that are more complex or challenging. On a daily basis you know that you have made a difference to someone whether that be to a business moving into new premises, a landlord letting out his first investment property, completing on a refinance deal to promote the success of a business, or helping someone through the process of moving house, it all makes a difference and there never fails to be a sense of achievement on a successful completion. I have always had a great sense of job satisfaction in my role and have strived to give my clients the very best service possible.
Having been a member of the Commercial Property Department for so long it came as a surprise to some of my colleagues that when an opportunity arose to join the Risk & Compliance Department, I took it. It wasn’t an easy decision to give up fee earning, quite the opposite, however I am always eager to take on new challenges and the opening of a new role working alongside Natalie, our Risk & Compliance Partner, was certainly going to be that. The opportunity had me intrigued.
Risk and Compliance at Bridge McFarland
I joined the Risk & Compliance Department on 01 October 2023. The department is responsible for ensuring that the firm complies with our regulatory duties and maintains the high standard of service which we provide to our clients. We work closely with all of our staff across all offices and all departments. As well as ensuring our staff are complying with our policies and procedures our role also includes dealing with any complaints, approving content for our website and social media, approving and reviewing outsourcing and third-party agreements, the preparation of management reports and overseeing quality accreditations such as Lexcel and CQS. The work is extremely varied, and every day brings a different challenge. Being able to use my knowledge and experience as a property solicitor is so far proving to be a real asset to the department.
I think for a solicitor it is something of an alien concept not to earn fees. It is almost a given that if you want to succeed in law, you must be successful at bringing in fees and providing an excellent service to your clients. Whilst this is true, after all, what is a business with no income or reputation, we are an industry that is so heavily regulated the management and compliance duties are incredibly time-consuming and onerous. It was, and still is in many firms, the norm for partners to have full caseloads and to juggle those against the demands of successfully managing a business, an almost impossible task with the demands of running a law firm today. There is so much more to be done outside of the scope of fee earning that there are more and more opportunities for people to play a valuable role in the progression and success of a firm in non fee earning roles. I am grateful to be able to experience both sides of the coin. Only time will tell which one side I prefer but for now I am certainly enjoying the challenge.
Opportunities at Bridge McFarland
If you are reading this article and considering a career in law in either a fee earning or non-fee earning role, please get in touch. Did I mention our department is also heavily involved in training and recruitment…
Find details of our current vacancies by clicking here. We pride ourselves on the training and opportunities we offer our staff and always aim to provide a safe and encouraging learning environment in which our staff can thrive and aspire to reach their full potential.
If you are interested in working with us, we would like to hear from you. We will keep your details on our database for six months and may contact you within that time if a relevant role becomes available. To register your interest, please complete an application and send it to email@example.com.