Inspirational Woman: Hayley Collinson | Solicitor, Hudgell Solicitors

hayley collinsonWorking as a solicitor for the clinical negligence department for Hudgell Solicitors, I deal with all areas of medical and dental negligence. I had a legal career in mind after I did a work experience placement at a local solicitors firm when I was 15. It was only a week placement but I remember thinking “this is what I want to do”. I decided to take law as an option at A Level and after a few more work experience placements, I started my law degree feeling confident in my choice of degree. During my degree, I always felt that I was more suited to becoming a solicitor so after university I went on to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Whilst I knew I wanted to be a solicitor, I never sat down and planned the area of law I wanted to qualify in.

I appreciate that not everyone knows what they want to do for a living when they embark on college or university but once you identify were your interests lie, I feel career planning is very useful and it has always made sense to me. Your career is an investment of which you have invested time and money and you should have continuous goals as you progress no matter how small they may be.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Looking back now, I have been fortunate but I recall becoming very disheartened when I was struggling after law school to secure a training contract. I also embarked on a career in property law at the start of the recession so I was made redundant twice. It was an unpredictable time and I decided I wanted to change areas of law. Fortunately, Neil Hudgell Solicitors offered me an assistant role in their clinical negligence department.

I had always imagined working in non-contentious areas of law which is why I initially worked in conveyancing but when I started working in litigation, I could not imagine doing anything else. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and now I am glad it took a few years for me to qualify as a solicitor as it enabled me to qualify into an area of law I really enjoy and at a firm that I had built up a relationship with.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?

Honestly, this is one of my future goals. I am not a manager at present or supervisor.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

At our firm I believe we would consider the candidate who shows that they know their CV well and can demonstrate their accomplishments and experiences match the skills needed for the position.

Also nothing eliminates a candidate faster than failing to research the company or position.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I always start my day by checking my emails and calendar at home so I can plan my day. I also cannot recommend a to-do list enough, it allows you to plan your day and prioritise your work load. There is also nothing more satisfying than ticking jobs off the list and I think with litigation organisation is the key given all the Court deadlines and timescales we need to adhere to.

I go metabolic training a couple of times a week and I tend to go straight to the gym from the office. The other nights I tend to just head home and relax in front of the TV with my husband. I often find myself checking my emails at some point during the course of the evening.

What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations

Be proactive and liaise with your marketing and PR departments.

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

Yes definitely, I have benefited from the advice that those in more senior roles have given me during the course of my career.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker:
  • Spend more time with fewer people.
  • Listen and show a sincere interest in what others are saying.
  • Follow up the connections after the event.
What does the future hold for you?

I am looking forward to new challenges associated with the continual growth and development of Neil Hudgell Solicitors. In the short term I am looking forward to attending the AvMA annual clinical negligence conference in June and of course my holidays in July.

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