Our Alumnus of the Month for October is Glynis Wright, Managing Director of Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors and Mediators, who graduated from De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) Legal Practice Course (LPC) as a mature student in 2001. After graduating, she quickly worked her way from trainee solicitor to partner within a law firm within three years, before deciding to establish her own firm in 2011.
Glynis Wright & Co has since gone on to win numerous prestigious awards in the legal sector, including Small Law Firm of the Year 2018 at the National Law Society Excellence Awards. Today Glynis is also President of the Leicestershire Law Society in addition to her professional career, working to give back to the legal community.
Glynis first considered DMU after hearing from two other alumni who had studied the GDL Law Conversion postgraduate course at De Montfort and recommended the quality of teaching on offer. She spoke about her initial hesitancy approaching the demands of studying law as a mature student and mother in full-time employment. After an encouraging first interview with lecturer Graham Hipwell, she felt reassured about the University's committment to supporting her to succeed in her studies.
Discussing her time at DMU Glynis said: "I loved the university, I found the staff were incredible and more than willing to work with students to help them to achieve their best. I was somewhat apprehensive about studying as a mature student with childcare responsibilities, but there was a wonderful culture of mixing socially between students of all ages and backgrounds. The academic staff were really encouraging for those who wished to put in extra work and helped us to hone our practical legal skills.
"Going into my studies, I was dead-set on becoming a criminal lawyer, but I soon realised that it wasn't actually the career path for me. I think what's fantastic about the education on offer at DMU is that it covers such a breadth of subjects, I'd really emphasise to current students the importance of learning about different areas of the law, you might find your preconceptions of where you talents lie aren't always accurate.
"Family law was never my first choice, but I'm really glad I took the chance to learn more about it. It wasn't until I interviewed my first family law client that it really hit home for me that I was motivated by advising people on legal issues that would help them through what can be incredibly challenging personal circumstances.
"To win the Law Society Student of the Year Award for achieving the highest marks in my academic year was a huge moment for me. It gave me so much confidence in my abilities and helped me to secure a training contract with a law firm despite being older than other graduates.
"When I first started working as a trainee solicitor my primary aim was simply to be the best lawyer I could be and achieve partner status, I really had no intention of setting up my own law firm. However, after five years in which I worked my way up the corporate hierarchy, I began to feel that I could make better use of my skills running a firm for myself. Learning to navigate legal practice in a business was invaluable, but I wanted to carve out my own niche in the industry rather than be tied to anyone else's vision. That decision led me to leave the company on cordial terms and form Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors in 2011 and since then the firm has gone from strength to strength.
"We've grown steadily in the last eight years and I now employ eighteen staff, but we've retained our specialist focus on family law matters in order to provide a high level of expertise. The firm has won numerous awards for our work to date. I am extremely proud of my team, without whom I could not have achieved such success. We were named the 'Team of the Year' at the Chamber of Commerce Awards in 2018 and followed this by winning the 'Small Law Firm of the Year' at the National Law Society Excellence Awards in the same year.
"Whilst we're delighted to be recognised for our success, I feel it's important to give back to the legal and local communities who've supported myself and my firm. That's why we're committed to numerous charities and community initiatives and why I decided to accept the honour of being President of the Leicestershire Law Society. I hope to use this position to help others in the legal sector and look to a future beyond my role at Glynis Wright & Co, working on family law strategy and policy in a wider context.
Asked for her advice for current students, Glynis said: "I cannot stress enough the importance for students to be highly competent in law, but also to understand their economic value to a law firm. Whilst it is undoubtedly important for graduates to be able to express the quality of lawyering they think they are capable of, being able to tell prospective employers how they plan to contribute to the economic success of a business through fee earning aspiration is something that really distinguishes candidates at interview. Showing your real personality and explaining your values and interests beyond your academic marks will also serve you well as you move into the professional environment."
Posted on Thursday 31st October 2019