Two De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduates have found themselves working at the same solicitors firm.
Kelly Ferguson and Natalie Aldrich took different study paths, Kelly studied Law LLB (Hons) and Natalie the Law Graduate Diploma (GDL), but both are now solicitors at law firm Bray & Bray.
Kelly, who graduated in 2000 and came back to DMU to complete her Legal Practice Course (LPC) in 2001, knew from the age of about 10 that she wanted to be a solicitor. She said: “I like to help people and sort out problems; I knew law was the career for me.”
Following her A-levels, Kelly did not go to the first choice university and said: “Fate brought DMU and I together. With hindsight I wouldn’t have it any other way. My experiences at DMU were a life education, I wasn’t kept in a bubble, but had real experiences.”
Natalie already had an undergraduate degree and chose to study her conversion course and then her LPC through distance learning at DMU. She said: “The law school was very good in the league tables, it was both academic and practical. It is well set up for people who are working like me, I had a job while studying.”
Natalie completed her LPC in 2006 and with help from a family member in a law firm she got work experience. She then got her training contract at Rogers and Norton Solicitors Limited in Norwich.
Once she qualified she moved back to Leicester and while studying she was offered a job as Private Client Solicitor at Crane and Walton Solicitors, where she worked for seven years. In April 2015 Natalie joined Bray & Bray Solicitors as a Private Client Solicitor.
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Kelly’s experiences were different. She explained: “I took any legal role to get a foot in the door, that’s how I got my training contract. In the summer of 2002 I was a floating legal secretary at Bray & Bray Solicitors.
“Through the connections I had made there I applied for a paralegal role at Thompsons Solicitors in Nottingham and got my training contract shortly after. I was there from 2003 to 2011. I worked in personal injury which I never considered before but was fascinated by the medical nature of the claims and health and safety laws.”
In 2012, Kelly worked as an Associate Team Leader at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and then in 2016 as Head of Department at Burton & Burton Solicitors. From March 2017 she took up the post of Associate Solicitor in Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury at Bray & Bray Solicitors.
Natalie and Kelly represented Bray & Bray Solicitors at the Law careers fair in the Hugh Aston Building at DMU in 2018. Natalie said: “We were at the stand talking to students giving tips which was very helpful.
“It was quite strange being back on campus. The campus is amazing and the Law school has developed from when we were in the Alfred Thomas building.”
Both Natalie and Kelly took positives away from their student time at DMU. Kelly said: “I met a variety of people there from all different courses and walks of life. DMU really opened up my horizons.”
Natalie added: “DMU paved my career, it was very accessible. It was good to meet people and network. The teaching was very good and the staff facilitated that and signposted you.”
Their message to students is simply ‘never give up, be determined.’ Kelly said: “If you want something there is always a means and a way. Keep smiling no matter what.”
Natalie added: “Think outside the box, take any business opportunity given, network with someone who has an opportunity for you. Don’t dismiss anything, ask questions, business knowledge serves you well.”
Posted on Wednesday 9th January 2019