The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Rachel Mathieson Firm: Bates Wells Location: London University: University of Manchester Degree: Law

opportunity to interact with clients and do legal research, plus a good way to see if you find the work itself interesting.” People skills What skills should students focus on in order to succeed in this area of the law? As well as citing an analytical mindset and patience as important attributes, Rachel is firm on the significance of people skills for budding employment lawyers: “We work with employers and employees at often stressful and upsetting times in their lives. If someone has lost their job or been accused of something, you need to have empathy, but you should also maintain a professional relationship to lead them through the difficult legal issues.” Ultimately, practising law is much more interesting than studying for the degree, Rachel is keen to reassure. “I found my undergraduate degree quite unrelated to what I do now in practice, and it made me question if I wanted to pursue a career in law,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important to get experience and see the real-life application of your studies. I absolutely love working as a solicitor and have no regrets about my decision.”

the legal framework.” With the economy having changed considerably over recent years, employment status is a big issue that many of Rachel’s clients are taking advice on. Rachel also mentions the significance of the Me Too movement which has seen many historical complaints emerge. “I can see a real stark difference today – organisations are taking these complaints very seriously and wanting to ensure that these practices do not continue to happen in their workplaces,” she comments. The world waits to see how else employment law – and employee-employers relations – might change in the wake of this movement. Intellectually stimulating For Rachel, the best part of the job is getting to use her brain in a different way every day. “You can never just turn up to work and coast through the day,” she laughs. “There’s always something new to learn and the law is changing constantly. I love the challenge and the intellectual stimulation that every case brings.” Aspiring lawyers should make sure to keep up to date with legal issues in the news. “The law is always going to be in the headlines,” Rachel says. “It’s up to students to track how a case develops and follow the key issues that are affecting the profession. Keep a broad mind and make sure you’re not cutting yourself off to interesting or relevant stories.” Rachel recommends that students start early in their career research, explaining that it wasn’t until the end of her second year at university that she realised just how tight the recruitment timelines are. To avoid a similar last-minute panic, students should be thinking about their career in their first year. “All universities will have legal advice centres where you can volunteer,” Rachel recommends. “That will give you a flavour of what the law will be like in practice. It’s a great


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