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Our staff’s career advice

As Results Day has come and gone, and a new group of school leavers embark on their careers, we have been focusing on our staff’s stories and career paths to potentially inspire a younger generation on the varying routes available to them if they are interested in a legal career.

Recently, we asked some of our staff to provide an insight into their careers, including any advice they might have for school leavers or anyone who is in the early stages of their careers and may be looking to move into the legal field.

Here are some of their responses:

Andrew Thompson, Senior Solicitor

“When I was a child my family would often tell me I would make a good lawyer due to my ability to debate an issue and formulate convincing arguments no matter what side of the fence I was on! It was this that initially planted the seed and, following me conducting some research in my careers lesson at school, this eventually grew into a real ambition to become a Solicitor.

I spent the next 8 years making my ambition a reality, first by completing my A levels (including an A Level in Law), then by obtaining a Law degree and finally completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and securing a Training Contract.

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2013 and at that time I was working for a small personal injury firm specialising in road traffic accidents, employer’s liability and public liability claims. As my experience grew I realised I enjoyed working on high value personal injury cases and so I moved to work within the Multitrack Department of a large and reputable Liverpool based law firm.

More recently I have moved into Clinical Negligence (more specifically Dental Negligence) at The Dental Law Partnership where I currently work as a Senior Solicitor. This role involves the handling of 50-60 Dental Negligence cases from the clinical assessment stage through to settlement. On a day to day basis my role involves drafting documents, obtaining and reviewing expert evidence, conducting quantum assessments, making and receiving offers, liaising with counsel and more generally progressing files in order to achieve a good settlement for my client.

I enjoy working at The Dental Law Partnership as I work alongside likeminded colleagues who are passionate about what they do. As a team we strive to achieve the best results for our clients. At The Dental Law Partnership you get a real sense that you are assisting members of the public in achieving justice following substandard dental treatment which may have left a lasting impact on them both physically and psychologically.

My advice to any young person who has either just left school or is soon to leave school, and who is considering a career in the legal profession, would be to work hard and be absolutely committed to your studies in order to achieve the best grades possible. This will unlock the door to so many opportunities in the workplace where you can, over time, build upon your experience and achieve success in your career. Education, knowledge and experience is key to social mobility but all of this takes time so be patient, your time will come.

Chris Dean, Director:

I originally studied dentistry at Bristol and qualified as a dentist back in 1985. Although I enjoyed my time at University, even at that early stage I had already realised that I would prefer a career in the law. It was the intellectual challenge which attracted me initially and then the possibility to combine my two areas of interest to help dental patients achieve access to justice.

So, after a few years working as a full-time dentist to pay off my student debt, and with the help of a very understanding boss, I worked part-time in dental practice and studied law part-time. Over the next few years, I acquired a law degree, a Masters in Medical Ethics and Law and eventually was called to the Bar. In 2000 I joined the Dental Law Partnership as a consultant providing legal services, and shortly after that I qualified as a solicitor. At that time DLP consisted of just 3 doubly-qualified dentists and solicitors and a secretary, and each of us had to be prepared to turn our hand to all aspects of the work, whereas now as a Director my work mainly involves a myriad of management activities.

Before DLP there was no specialist representation for dental patients who had been harmed by their negligent dentists, and the fact that as a company we have provided the highest quality representation and access to justice for 1000s of dental patients for more than 20 years is a source of pride for all of us at DLP.

It is a massively rewarding career, go for it!

Helen Coleman, Director:

When I left school I trained and qualified as a registered general nurse. I worked in theatre and intensive care for a number of years in this country and Australia. Nursing was an incredibly rewarding job and I do miss aspects of it, however I wanted to study further and improve my career prospects so I applied to study Law.

After attaining my degree I studied part time and completed my 2 year training contract while having a family. There were certainly challenging times and shortly after qualifying I had my third child and decided that I could only continue working as a solicitor on a part time basis.

My job at the time did not offer part time roles, so I applied for a role at DLP because I had worked with one of the founding Directors previously. DLP were very supportive of my desire to work part time hours, and offered additional flexibility with working hours to accommodate childcare – it was a great fit for me and my family.

This flexibility allowed me to continue working and developing experience within my chosen field. In 2009 I was appointed a Director of the Company and Head of the Legal Team.

To anyone starting out in their legal career, I would advise you to try and obtain relevant work experience as early as possible – candidates who stand out to me are those who have some experience which is relevant to our business.

I think it is also important to bear in mind that while academic and professional achievements are important, many firms want to employ people who will fit in with their existing workforce and contribute towards a positive working dynamic. At DLP, we work hard to maintain an upbeat and constructive atmosphere within the office; we spend so much of our lives at work and it should be a place where we look forward to engaging with the people around us.