Diversity animosity

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  • Diversity

    I actually want to tell you about how surprised I was at my success (so far) in the "legal world". After a fairly acrimonious divorce I decided that I would try and follow my dream of becoming a lawyer - despite being a single mother to two children under 4!!!

    Full time study was not going to be an option with toddlers underfoot and a mortgage to pay so I applied to study the Graduate Diploma in Law by distance learning. As the finances were going to be tight I decided to have a go at applying to Middle Temple for a scholarship to help with the fees. I didn't seriously think that I had a chance, but figured I might as well have a go. Well I went up for an interview there and it was pretty overwhelming! A lot of the questioning revolved around how I would manage to devote enough time to the study with having a full time job and a part time job (to cover the bills…) and raising two pre-school children by myself. There was added pressure as I had graduated from my first degree seven years previously and had no experience of this kind of interview or indeed the reality of legal work. My only real experience was representing myself in protracted divorce proceedings!

    After the interview I took a walk around the temple area and generally felt inspired, if a little daunted. A million miles away from changing nappies and wearing two jumpers instead of turning on the heating to save money in the winter! Still, I enjoyed the experience, and if nothing else it made me even more determined to "make it" in the legal world. Like I said in my interview, I was additionally motivated as I was not just pursuing this career for myself, but also to inspire my children that whatever life throws at you, you can still be a success.

    A few weeks later I was gobsmacked when I heard I had received a scholarship from Middle Temple (only a small one - A Blackstone Entrance Exhibition award). It made me feel like I maybe did have a place in this world. In October I started studying the GDL by distance learning with Nottingham Law School and whilst am nervously awaiting my first year exam results, I am really pleased with my assessed work - averaging at 68%. I'm pleased to be getting these marks considering all the other responsibilities in my life.

    Even better, a few months after starting the GDL I was offered a job as a paralegal. Again, I was amazed that a prestigious law firm would take on a single mother who blatantly said at interview that she had to be home by six every day to put the children to bed! I am now happy as I have ever been - I am working in a job that I love, my company is supporting me with my studies and I am getting good marks. My children are getting quite a legal education as I have found that bedtime stories can comprise case law if read in "interesting" voices.

    I always thought that the legal world was quite closed. I am so happy that despite my "less than typical" circumstances I have been welcomed in with such open arms. Another year on the GDL, then I plan to study the BVC, again by distance learning. By the time I am Called my children will be old enough to be there, and share in joy of the day.

    Just an alternative view, I suppose of diversity!

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