How my return to law opened up a whole new world

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It’s a first!  Following her promotion, one of our Reignite Academy alumni, Hannah Edwards, is looking for a replacement. Her return not only opened up a whole new world for Hannah, her promotion now creates opportunities for others.

A little background

Hannah first approached the Reignite Academy in the summer of 2019.  She had always worked in real estate law, having trained at at Slaughter and May and later spending time at Stevens & Bolton.  She had also worked as an in-house real estate lawyer at Marks and Spencer. 

Hannah took a career break when the family relocated to Scotland.  Returning to the South five years later, she approached the Reignite Academy to help her return to the law.  She was offered an in house risk and compliance role back at Stevens & Bolton and though this was a new area for her, she made the leap.

We spoke to Hannah about her experience.

What made you choose this particular role?

It was a combination of factors.  I did love being a lawyer and enjoyed my time working in real estate, but I was beginning to feel a bit pigeon-holed. 

Moving to a risk and compliance role was an opportunity to do something different, to challenge myself and to take everything I’d learnt so far and add to it.  It was the chance to build on what I’d done to date and take it in a new direction.

There was also the lifestyle factor.  Risk and compliance work is important but doesn’t usually come with the unpredictability and long hours that some fee earning roles entail.

How did you find the transition?

Well, it was a challenge at first.  I had a learning plan all mapped out but what I actually found was that most of what you learn comes from the issues being thrown at you on a day to day basis. 

Luckily, as lawyers, we are used to looking things up, seeking out precedents, understanding new legislation and rule changes.  I also had a very supportive boss and the partners at Stevens & Bolton were very accommodating.  Everyone wanted me to succeed.

What do you enjoy most about the work?

There is a tremendous variety to what we do.  Our team covers everything from conflicts, complex anti-money laundering issues and data protection through to supplier contracts, firm policies and regulatory compliance.  No one day is the same.

Moving into this role has really refreshed my interest in my career.  It doesn’t feel as though I have “gone back”, in reality I’ve “moved forwards.”

How do you find Stevens & Bolton as a firm

I love it here.  The firm really is exceptionally collaborative.  Everyone is friendly and supportive.  The culture is great and that makes it a really nice place to work.

What does the future look like?

I’m hiring my replacement!  I have just been promoted and we need to find another lawyer to join the team and work with me.  S&B has embraced an agile working model and our team will continue with a mixture of remote working and in person collaboration in the office.

As Hannah says, there is a new opportunity for a risk and compliance lawyer at Stevens & Bolton.  You needn’t have experience in this role previously, although some experience of commercial contracts and data privacy would be helpful, along with a general awareness of the regulations governing a law firm. 

If Hannah’s experience sounds of interest and you’d like to explore this opportunity please contact us or apply here.

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Reignite Academy Summer Roadshow

We are excited to announce that the Reignite Academy will be on the road in May, offering you the chance to join us in person to explore ways to relaunch or pivot your legal career.

The Reignite Academy team will be joined by other women who have successfully returned to law after a career hiatus. They will share their stories, experience and advice.

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