WINNER: Sam McGinty
De Montfort University (DMU) graduate, Samuel McGinty, has been named as Leicestershire Law Society’s Junior Solicitor of the Year.
Sam finished his Legal Practice Course at DMU in 2009 and has worked as the Contracts and Procurement Solicitor at North West Leicestershire District Council’s Lexcel-accredited legal team for the past 18 months.
Leicestershire Law Society’s awards are in their seventh year and the ceremony was attended by 300 people from the local legal community at Leicester’s Athena venue.
All three finalists – Sam, James Popplewell of Harvey Ingram Shakespeares and Natasha Sond, of Thaliwal Bridge Solicitors – are DMU graduates. Judges of the awards included Sheree Peaple, Head of DMU’s Leicester Institute of Legal Practice, David Monk from the University of Leicester and district judge Vera Stamenkovich.
“When I was studying at DMU I never considered working for a local authority, but now I am fully committed to the public sector,” said Sam, who lives in Markfield. “I’m lucky enough to love my job.”
After finishing his LPC he joined Howes Percival Solicitors working in Leicester and Northampton as a Trainee Solicitor. The commercial skills developed while training are essential in his job at the council.
“My job centres on contracts and procurement, but being quite a small authority we get involved in a broad range of things. You can be dealing with a software licence one minute and then negotiating construction contracts the next. We have to check all the reports before they go before councillors and advise councillors and officers before attending committees and other meetings.
“A lot has changed in local authorities in the past 18 months. The Localism Act has had a big impact on how we operate and we have had to deliver training to councillors and staff.
“You’re never bored. In my previous role I enjoyed the commercial work, but the same approach to advice is needed at the council. It’s increasingly business-focused and that’s what I enjoy. I feel lucky to work with such a good team in a very supportive and encouraging environment.”
Sam has become quite evangelical about working in the public sector and recently gave a talk on public sector careers at the Junior Lawyers Division annual conference at Chancery Lane, in London. He served on the committee of the Leicestershire Junior Lawyers Division for two years, including one year on the national committee of the Junior Lawyers Division.
He still has strong links to DMU, supervising the law clinic and giving talks to students about careers. He also mentors post-graduate law students and has arranged an internship at the Council for a current DMU student.
“I enjoyed my time at DMU immensely,” he said. “The staff are great – they made it for me and I am pleased to keep working with them. I think it’s important to give back, but I also get something out of it from a professional and personal perspective.”
Sheree Peaple, was one of the judges. She said: “I was thrilled and delighted that Sam won Junior Solicitor of the Year at the recent Leicestershire Law Society Awards. During his time here at DMU, Sam has impressed me with his dedication to his chosen profession and I am sure he has an illustrious career ahead of him. ”
The evening raised money for educational charity Warning Zone, based in Leicestershire.
Posted on Thursday 9th May 2013