Case study

Immigration solicitor — Yogita Sharma

After gaining her LPC from BPP University Yogita studied for a Master of Law from the University of Bedfordshire. She now works as an immigration lawyer

Why did you decide on a career in law?

The main reason I became a solicitor was to help people. I changed my career from a banker to an immigration solicitor because I felt it would give me the tools to reach out to people who needed help.

Additionally, I strongly believed that a career in law could help me develop a range of skills and explore many aspects of human life.

How did you get your job?

Choosing the firm was an important decision, as I wanted to pursue my career in immigration and family law.

My friend was working with Premier Solicitors and informed me about a paralegal vacancy. I applied to the firm for a paralegal position in the family department, while I was studying for my Master of Law. I demonstrated my interest and skills and how I could contribute to the firm, which led to getting a training contract.

There are a lot of stereotypes about working in law; can you debunk a myth?

Work-life balance can be a big issue in the legal profession. However, many firms have implemented agile work policies, wellness programmes and flexible work arrangements. The legal profession is challenging, and it requires you to meet and exceed client's expectations, but that does not mean that there is no downtime.

What's a typical day like as a solicitor?

I spend most of my time on the phone or in meetings with clients. My caseload is as varied, as is my client base.

The work in immigration practice can be unpredictable - some cases are simple, others more complex. Some days are spent meeting and calling clients, drafting legal documents and liaising with the Home Office, while others fly by as I research specific points of law and liaise with colleagues.

I am also involved in tasks that are not directly related to the law. This can include marketing or helping find new clients, or hiring new paralegals and solicitors for the department.

Furthermore, I also attend training via seminars and webinars as part of my continuing education, as it is important to stay up-to-date on recent points of law and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) normally requires this.

Describe your job in five words

  • rewarding
  • challenging
  • invigorating
  • problem-solving
  • varied.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy helping people and it is enormously rewarding when you get the best results for your client. I am a people person and love meeting new clients and helping them achieve their goals.

I also take great pride in training the new paralegals that join the firm and find passing on what I know rewarding.  

What are the challenges?

The Immigration department can get very busy, so managing my caseload and juggling priorities is an every day challenge.

Also, immigration law is not always clear as the rules are constantly updated. As a result I spend a lot of time reading the new guidance and rules to make sure that our clients are offered accurate information.

What are your career ambitions?

My ambition is to have my own law practice.

I also want to help the profession continue its drive for more diversity and equality in its membership so that it accurately reflects the demographics of the community we live in.  

Tell us about challenges facing the legal sector and how new recruits can help

  • The legal profession is in the middle of significant change. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 many businesses had to adopt the latest technology. Since some law firms are known for being traditional, they have had to change and embrace advanced legal technologies to deliver legal services efficiently. New recruits will need to be tech-savvy so that they can bring new ideas to law firms.
  • Many law firms are working towards diversity and inclusion, but the change is slow, and more needs to be done. A diverse profession can meet the needs of its clients a strong diversity and inclusion strategy in the legal industry can attract top talent. New recruits can drive positive change in firms by understanding the diversity and inclusion elements that they personally bring to organisations.

What advice can you give to other aspiring solicitors?

Have passion for your job and always aim to help others to the best of your ability in an honest and respectable way.

Also, make sure you are continually developing your legal knowledge and do not stop once you have qualified. You need to keep up to date with the latest legislation and policies, with an interest in current affairs.

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