Career Stories – Aleisha Lee
Aleisha joined OM&M in May 2022 as part of the Business Support Team but in October she started studying to become a solicitor. Aleisha shares her career story, what she likes about OM&M’s culture, and what advice she would give to someone looking to start a career in the legal sector.
What interested you about starting a career in Law?
What made me interested in a legal career was actually my own personal injury experience. I was only 12 and I remember the solicitor walking in her high heels and her business suit and thinking she looked so powerful and cool and that I wanted to be her someday. With that in mind, I studied law at A-Level and fell in love with the subject even more. The law is always evolving and I wanted a career that would constantly challenge me, in which I would be developing my knowledge all the time. This, combined with the idea of being able to assist people to navigate the law and be able to understand and take advantage of their legal rights is what drew me to wanting to become a solicitor.
What route are you taking to get into the legal profession?
Initially I started off on a traditional path into law. I did Law at A-Level and then went on to study it at university, with plans to take a year out, gain some experience and then go on to do my Legal Practice Course. However, Covid struck and everything shut down and it became increasingly difficult to find experience in an already competitive field. I was working for a year in a property services business before I came to OMM, to get some administration experience. When I came here, I really enjoyed how varied the role was and everyone was so friendly that it made me feel comfortable enough to initiate my further training. I started part 1 of the Solicitors Qualifying Exams in October 2023, for which the exam is in July, and I hope to commence preparation for my SQE2 exam shortly after this. I am fortunate to have found a firm like OMM who are so supportive and encouraging of my development.
What aspects of your role do you find rewarding?
When I am not training or studying, I work in the business support team, which is a very varied role that encompasses different tasks covering all of the different departments, from sewing wills to compliance checks. One aspect of my role in business support that I really enjoy is the interaction with clients. Due to the fact that my team field enquiries and regularly attend to walk ins, we are often the first voice that clients will hear or face that they will see when they come to the firm seeking advice. I like being able to provide initial guidance to clients to comfort them somewhat, whether that be by listening to their enquiry or by explaining our process so that they know what to expect.
How did your training contract come about?
I was working full-time in business support before I started what will become my qualifying work experience for the SQE. I highlighted in my interview that my plan was to eventually qualify as a solicitor and this was monitored throughout my time in the team via check ins and meetings. I researched the SQE in my own time and discovered that I could do the preparation course online part-time meaning I could balance it with work commitments. I completed a sample course with my current provider Barbri and then spoke to the Office Manager Sarah Winters regarding the possibility of OMM supporting me in obtaining my qualifications. I felt extremely honoured that the Senior Management Team agreed to not only fund my course but also to allow me to do seats in each department to ascertain where I wanted to specialise upon qualification.
What does your course entail?
The course I am on currently is in preparation for the first Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE1) and I am going over the content that I will need to know as a day 1 solicitor. I have a personal study plan, provided by Barbri, which allocates me a set period of study to complete each day, comprised of multiple-choice questions, lectures and reading. On one day of my working week, I am able to sit in the wills and probate team, to enable me to put some of the skills I am learning into practice and to work towards my 2 years of qualifying work experience, which I will need along with completion of SQE1 and 2, in order to be admitted onto the roll of solicitors. It is a long road ahead but I know that I have the full support of all my colleagues at OMM and I am excited to finally be able to manifest my dream of becoming a solicitor.
What do you enjoy most about your training?
What I enjoy most about the current course I am on is the flexibility it gives me. I can study anytime, anywhere which makes it much less intimidating as I can spread it out. Due to the fact it’s so flexible I am able to do it in conjunction with my work, and I find what I do in my job only aids in my understanding of what I’m learning. I’m also just excited to finally be doing what I dreamed about since I was a little girl.
What advice would you give someone looking to study Law?
I would say that if you are looking to study law make sure you are passionate about it. It’s no secret that the legal field is full of competition, and the route to qualification can be a challenging one but I think my passion for this career has been my biggest motivator, propelling me through every set-back and rejection, to where I am now. I know it sounds cheesy but I genuinely love where I work, I love what I do and I think that’s the key to really succeeding in something, being passionate about it.