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We will all have setbacks, but you can overcome them all

More about Kayleigh

Nottingham Law School alum Kayleigh Brown overcame several challenges on her journey to qualifying as a solicitor.

She joined NTU via a foundation degree and during her time here, took every opportunity to develop herself personally and professionally. Kayleigh proves that ‘starting where you are’ can not only lead to success, but to achieving outcomes you never thought possible.

Why did you choose to study Law at NTU?

I grew up in Beeston and had previously applied to study Psychology and Sociology at NTU because I couldn’t afford to move away for university. I needed to financially support my mum and the grades at other universities were unrealistically too high for me, someone who is not a natural academic.

I failed my A-levels due to circumstances outside of my control so ended up going through Clearing. My only options were to study at higher education college first. I took a gamble and chose the foundation degree in Law- I had no idea until I was on the course that it was linked to Nottingham Trent University and that I could continue to the LLB Law.

Tell us about your memories of NTU- what still makes you smile when you look back?

Outside of lectures I took part in many extra-curricular activities. I attended all the events that NTU and LEX Law Society put on, I had a mentor from Browne Jacobson one year and Freeths another year.

I also took part in one of NTU’s international volunteering opportunities with Education for the Children. I took Spanish lessons and was committed to the various fund-raising activities and group meetings throughout the year. I then travelled to Guatemala to volunteer as a teaching assistant in the ‘School of Hope’ for 3 weeks. I also took part in a roofing project in the local community there.

The experience had a profound impact on me. Since working at the school, I attended their charity ball and have fund-raised at various workplaces for them. As soon as I returned to England, I signed up to sponsor a student there, Sarah. I have remained her sponsor ever since.

What is your current role and what does your day involve? 

I have recently qualified as a Solicitor. During my training I completed my first and final seats in clinical negligence, and my second in Managed Legal Services.

No day is typical, but I will tell you about my last few days at work to give an idea. One day I had a call with a client to take her witness statement. I prepared before that and was on the phone to her for 2.5 hours, I then spent time writing it up. The next day I drafted a certificate of service and filed that along with other documents through the online court filing system before writing a letter of claim to the defendant solicitors on a separate matter.

There have been so many highlights in my career so far. I was so proud to gain my Police Station Representative  Accreditation when I was 23 years old. I felt proud to be able to stand up and protect the interests of my clients. I had many success stories and one client in particular sent feedback to the directors of the firm about me. He was accused of assaulting a pupil in a school whilst working as a TA. The case was dropped against him, and he was able to move on with his life, but I will never forget my time with him or the feedback he gave about me.

What attracted you to this field of work?

I loved the area of clinical negligence since first learning about civil law on my foundation degree.

I am passionate about helping others which this field enables me to do. Not everyone can deal with such sensitive subject matters or deal very well with people crying but I am very good at it. I feel a sense of justice when fighting for our clients, to try to make their lives better when their whole world has been tipped upside down.

I loved studying medical law on my degree at NTU and I went on to win the Irwin Mitchell Award for the best performing student on the medical law module. Through that I was awarded a week work experience at Irwin Mitchell in their Birmingham office. This all affirmed to me that this is the area of law I was meant to be in.

What challenges have you faced?

I have had financial challenges, always had to balance my fragile mental health since suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression when I was 18. I had the added challenge of being the first person in my family to go to university, not knowing anyone in the legal industry, always having to work 1 or 2 part-time jobs around my education to support myself and my family.

We all will have setbacks, but you can overcome them all.

How do you maintain your wellbeing?

It's about making your own toolkit so that when times get tough (and they will) you will know what works for you to help you overcome it. Exercise is my biggest medicine for example.

I take great motivation from hearing other people's stories, and if you're like me then when you get a setback stick a Ted talk on. There's nothing more inspirational than listening to those who have ‘made it’, reached their goals and got to the finish line (which is actually only the beginning).

Everything that has ever happened to me, I now see it happened for a reason. I cried endless tears each year when I didn’t get a training contract at the organisation where I worked for nearly 4 years. But I am so happy now I can see why I didn’t get one there, it was because I wouldn’t have been truly happy. This is where I am meant to be, at a firm where I am in control of my career and feel valued and listened to. Trust the process, keep going, everything is either a lesson or a blessing.

Connect with Kayleigh on LinkedIn: Kayleigh Brown | LinkedIn

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