Jon Hocker

Meet the contributor- Nicola Laver

Meet legal journalist, non-practicing solicitor and e-Law Learning course contributor, Nicola Laver.  

Nicola boasts an impressive 25 years' experience in the legal sector and encourages young professionals to be driven by passion.  

While contributing her courses for the site (access her courses here), we took the opportunity to get her perspective on some of the burning questions around the legal sector and professional development.  

Read on as she shares how an unexpected job offer shaped her career, how she has learnt from her mistakes and what she would like to change about the legal industry.  

Do you have a favourite failure? Something that didn’t go so well at the time, but has actually benefited you in the long-run? 
I was pipped to the post by a university pal after an interview for a training contract I really wanted. I asked for interview feedback: when asked in the interview about my faults, I responded: ‘I have loads, just like anyone else!’ – but was unwilling to elaborate. 25 years later it’s still teaching me new lessons. We all know we’re not perfect so prepare to be vulnerable and own your weaknesses. We know what it’s like to be human. I worry what people think of me and I tend to rush things. So what? I own my weaknesses and they can become an asset. So can yours.

If you could go back to the beginning of your legal career, what’s the top piece of advice you would give yourself?

Never say ‘never’ – at least, until you’ve tried it! When I qualified, the two areas of legal practice I was determined not to touch were corporate and conveyancing. But I was offered a NQ conveyancing position and decided to take it while I carried on looking for my ‘dream job’. It turned out I loved conveyancing – and stayed.

If you could change anything about the legal industry, what would it be?

Cut the ridiculous levels of burdensome regulation; and make it easier and less financially crippling to set up a small law firm or as a sole practitioner or freelance solicitor.  

What advice would you give to legal professionals looking to further their career?

Be driven by passion, not by financial returns. And don’t sacrifice your mental health, family or personal life on the altar of a lucrative career.   

What have you done in your career that has made the biggest difference?

 A small cog in the wheel enables the entire wheel to turn smoothly. In practice, I was that small cog that enabled a complex conveyancing chain to complete and have happy clients refer new clients to me.    

Read more of Nicola’s course content here.