Case study

Partner — Kashmir Uppal

Kashmir graduated from Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) with a Bachelor of Law. She worked as a clinical negligence lawyer before becoming a partner at Shoosmiths

How did you get your job with Shoosmiths?

I was lucky to get a training contract, then called 'Articles of Clerk', straight out of law school, however the firm did not keep me on. I was in the wilderness for a couple of years, during which time I learnt that to succeed I had to make some sacrifices, which I did because my career was so important to me.

In 2016 I joined Shoosmiths and I am currently a partner at the fifth biggest law firm in the West Midlands, leading a team of 12 legal advisors, with responsibility for all business development and marketing for the department and doing a job I love.

What's a typical day like as a partner at Shoosmiths?

Pre-COVID, it would consist of meetings with clients, attending court appointments and conferences with counsel, as well as considering expert's reports and working on cases to progress. At the moment, it is largely the same but alas, all on a virtual basis.

Describe your job in four words.

  • fascinating
  • rewarding
  • challenging
  • learning.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I am so lucky and privileged to practice an area of law that I find fascinating. It ignites a passion in me to excel and I feel the pain and anguish of my clients, which drives my ambition to provide them with an excellent service.

What are the challenges?

Balancing the demands of a litigation caseload and keeping up with changes in the civil procedure rules, particularly in terms of costs budgeting, which impacts on costs recovery.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I found the study of law fascinating, particularly the practical application and exercises that we would work through in small tutorial groups. I would take great pride and time in preparing for them. When studying for my degree it was the preparation, groundwork, and prioritising, which helped me excel in my legal career.

There are a lot of stereotypes about working in law, what's the reality?

It's hard work and certainly not a 9 to 5 job. However, it's also incredibly fulfilling as the work is interesting and challenging. On some occasions it is also exciting and adrenalin inducing so it keeps you on your toes.

In your opinion what more needs to be done to make the legal profession more diverse?

I don't think there’s a problem with diversity at entry level but there is certainly a problem higher up the ranks. However, most law firms recognise this and are setting up initiatives, such as shadow boards, to provide more opportunities surrounding diversity.

What advice can you give to aspiring solicitors?

  • Be commercially aware - law firms are businesses so if the area of law you enjoy is not going to generate a good income for the firm, there is little point in focussing on it.
  • Demonstrate your passion, rather than just saying 'I am passionate about this'.

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