Priya Raymond, In-house solicitor, Global Operations at ASOS
My entry into the legal profession was quite conventional, however my story is more about how I took a break from the law and then acted on the decision to return.
I chose to do business and economics at degree and then the one-year conversion course (now known as the GDL) followed by the LPC.
I then completed my two-year training contract, qualifying in corporate/commercial. All sounds straightforward so far…
I then decided to make a few changes along the way - moving into a more commercial rather than corporate role and making the move from private practice to in-house.
My personal experience of working in-house has been a positive one, I’ve been able to embrace working flexibly as well as enjoying the positives of working as part of an in-house legal team - you really do get to know the client first hand, take on a far more varied workload and all the time adapting to the business context. Never a dull moment!
The changes I made, to a more commercial role, and also the move to an in-house role, better suited my professional goals and also I felt more 'me' in this environment. However, my story doesn’t end there.
An opportunity came up for my family and me to move overseas. At the time, I was on parental leave with my second child. Whilst it was daunting, we decided to embrace the move abroad and I made the decision to take a career break - I was fortunate that this was an option.
What came next was something I thought I would never do – I started a business during my career break. This change again suited my circumstances at the time.
We later decided to move back to the UK, all a (little) older and wiser.
Back in the UK, I knew I wanted to recommence my career in law. It was the right time for me to rejoin the legal world, and, armed with a stubborn ambition to accomplish my goal, I once again changed my career path.
My first port of call was the Law Society and enrolling on the returners course. This was an invaluable opportunity for me - meeting like-minded people, hearing about others who had taken a break from their careers and how they got back in the saddle, and making friends along the way.
After attending the course I resumed my legal career within a few months. Looking back, I truly felt inspired by the personal stories shared on the returners course, and definitely left with a 'can do' attitude.
It spurred me on to get the ball rolling and I decided then that I wanted to attend the returners course again; only next time, I wanted to attend on the 'other side' and to give back and help others return to the law after having had a break, for whatever reason.
I now hope to encourage and support others in their own journeys in returning to a career in the law.
Priya's top tips
Adapt! A career in the law doesn’t have to be a straight line, and don’t be afraid to change your area of practice, move sectors, or simply take some time out or even move countries! Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, assess your options and make changes along the way.
Be proud to have had a career break and do follow through if you’re thinking of returning to a career in the law – you have even more to offer now from all those life experiences.