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Life, Lemons and the Law

A Clarke Willmott podcast

Welcome back to our podcast – ‘Life, Lemons and the Law’. We were delighted with the reception of Series 1 and look forward to sharing more stories and shining a light on our chosen topic for this season. In this series, we will be discussing a subject close to our hearts – Social Mobility – sharing how our firm is looking to improve within this area and highlight the challenges and opportunities posed by social mobility and how we can help.

In 2023, we announced our new community strategy focusing on improving social mobility for those entering the world of work. Part of our wider commitment as a firm to our ESG plans. The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) was chosen as our national partner because it aims to level the playing field for students with the ability and ambition to flourish academically and in the world of work, but lack the opportunities and networks to get there. The SMF’s Aspiring Professionals Programme opens up 11 different professional sectors to young people. Each January, 2,000 Year 12s join the programme from across the UK and are supported for five years, giving them the skills to achieve their aspirations.

The intention behind this series of Life, Lemons and the Law is to bring experiences and connections to the forefront. We want to start conversations, offer you an opportunity to get to know some of our people and bring new perspectives from those we work with.

You can follow our podcast on the following platforms: Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify.

Life, Lemons and the Law: Social Mobility

#1: Positive Partnerships

Positive partnerships - Karen Higgins, Sarah Atkins, and Peter Swinburn

‘Positive Partnerships’, features Karen Higgins, Head of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) at Clarke Willmott; Peter Swinburn, CEO of Clarke Willmott; and our special guest, Sarah Atkinson, CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation. They offer an insight into the key partnerships which have benefitted them throughout their careers.

You can also listen to this episode on:

AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#2: Invisible Barriers

As our podcast focuses on Social Mobility, we invited former guests Clare Gregory and Mamunul Wahid onto the pod again. In many ways, Clare and Mamun’s experience encapsulates the problem of social mobility and reasons for Clarke Wilmott partnering with the Social Mobility Foundation.

Neither Clare or Mamun come from what we might perceive as a typical background for becoming a lawyer. In this episode they discuss how their ambitions were stifled by the challenges of expectations, a lack of role-models and, by self-doubt.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#3: Mentoring Matters

In this chapter, we hear the stories of Charlotte Murray and Karl Brown. They discuss the challenges they faced in attempting to enter and advance in the legal sector, from a lack of role models, to the ill-considered advice of careers advisors, to landing that elusive training contract. Both emphasise the importance of mentoring and providing support to individuals from less privileged backgrounds.

They discuss our partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation and address the issues that need to be tackled to create an inclusive & accessible legal sector.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#4: Challenging Assumptions

This episode explores the challenges Tom and Ryan’s faced as a result of the issues surrounding social mobility. They share stories of struggling within the education system, while Ryan faced obstacles as an immigrant student.

We discuss the challenges faced by individuals from underprivileged backgrounds pursuing their career aspirations and highlight the impact of ADHD, dyslexia and the barriers posed by financial constraints. Both show how the education system needs to provide better support for individuals who don’t “fit”.

Listen to this on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#5 Opening Doors

Tabitha and Sam discuss their experiences and the challenges they’ve faced in pursuing a career in law. The issue of social mobility has been significant for both, proving an obstacle first at school, then university, then again when it came to finding a training contract.

The conversation touches on the importance of personal connections in accessing opportunities and how mentorship is key to levelling the playing field. They credit programs like Pathways to Law and the Sutton Trust in shaping their career paths and they’re keen to offer opportunities to young people who find their path to the law seemingly blocked.

Listen to this on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#6 Confidence and Career

Umar Farooq and Chelsea Mace discuss their journeys as Trainee solicitors. They talk about the lack of encouragement they received from the education system and how their families didn’t have the experience to support their career aspirations, meaning they faced all sorts of challenges in navigating the legal profession. 

Umar and Chelsea are keen advocates of mentoring the next generation to ease their path to law and their advice includes the importance of confidence, preparation, and embracing differences as strengths. 

Listen to this on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

Life, Lemons and the Law: Season 1

Our first season of Life, Lemons and the Law discussed life changing experiences of all kinds; the story behind them, the immediate impact and the consequences.

In this season, we discussed how working from home changed the relationship dynamics we have with our colleagues, clients and community. For many, barriers have been lowered and a different kind of connection has been made. We shared and reflected on how our personal experiences, challenges and successes with others is more encouraged now than ever and how this can help achieve stronger, more effective professional relationships.

To learn more about this season, click the accordion below or follow our podcast  on platforms: Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify.

#1: Misadventures in Mental Health

Life, lemons and the law: Misadventures in Mental Health (Episode 1)

#1: Misadventures in Mental Health

Beth Evans and Martin Palmer share life changing experiences related to their mental health. Beth was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at the beginning of the pandemic. She talks about the significant impact of her intrusive thoughts and how she manages them day-to-day. Martin remembers his ‘beautiful breakdown’, how it hit him more than 20 years ago and how he moved – and continues to move – forward.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#2: Running to New Perspective

Life, lemons and the law: Running to New Perspective (Episode 2)#2: Running to New Perspective

Running has helped Kat Quinton and Philippa Hann to keep going through difficult times and find a new perspective. In this episode they talk about their love of running and how it has changed their lives, helping them deal with experiences including the death of a close friend, life-limiting medical conditions and relationship breakdown.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#3: Changing the Game

Life, lemons and the law: Changing the Game (Episode 3)#3: Changing the Game

Former England rugby players Damian Hopley and Christian Day talk about the psychological and emotional impact of retiring from the game under very different circumstances. They share the challenges of giving up their identities as professional players, the lessons they are grateful for and the positives of retiring. Both are still deeply involved in rugby through their work with the Rugby Players Association. They talk about their mission to make sure players are treated as well as possible and the achievements they are most proud of.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#4: An Unexpected Friendship

Life, lemons and the law: An Unexpected Friendship (Episode 4)#4: An Unexpected Friendship

Good friends are a lifeline at the best of times, even more so when life gets stormy. Joe Campbell and Ruth Preston share how over lockdown, their professional relationship blossomed from discussing business development to supporting each other virtually through challenging and life changing periods of their lives. They talk about multiple sclerosis, the death of a parent, and the of value of opening up and sharing our vulnerabilities.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#5: Muddy Boots

Life, lemons and the law: Muddy Boots (Episode 5)#5: Muddy Boots

Many of us dream of living ‘The Good Life’ and for good reasons – spending time outside can fire our imagination and aid our mental health. In this episode Helen Wallwork talks about how, over lockdown, her passion for food, her husband’s love of gardening and a successful crop of lettuce led to a small vegetable patch becoming a bigger part of their life than they’d planned.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#6: Oak and Dora

Life, lemons and the law: Oak and Dora (Episode 6)#6: Oak and Dora

Starting a family isn’t always plain sailing and adding a pandemic into the mix brought new challenges. Kristian and Grace both had difficult entries into parenthood during lockdown. Kristian and his wife began IVF treatment just as covid hit and Grace’s son spent one month in a neo-natal intensive care unit after he was born with significant health complications. They talk about welcoming their new babies, Oak and Dora, into a world that was social distancing, how life doesn’t always go as expected and the value of living in the moment.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#7: Normalising Menopause

Life, lemons and the law: Normalising Menopause (Episode 7)#7: Normalising Menopause

Would you recognise the symptoms of menopause in yourself, your colleagues or your loved ones? Lauren Chiren (Women of a Certain Stage) and Juliette Staunton didn’t know what was happening to them when they entered menopause and peri-menopause, leading to worries about early onset dementia and whether they’d be able to continue with their careers. From sleepless nights to suicidal thoughts, in this episode they share their menopause stories. They talk about how employers can support their staff, how every woman’s journey through this period of their life is different and the importance of normalising conversations about menopause

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle, and Spotify.

#8: From The Ground Up

Life, lemons and the law: From The Ground Up (Episode 8)#8: From The Ground Up

Building and exiting a business can be a rollercoaster. Joe Cripps and John Lam share the highs and lows of their business journey, including their initial inspiration, why they exited and what they learnt along the way. Joe talks about the impact of the pandemic on Trail, an app designed for the hospitality industry, and seeking co-founder relationship advice. John shares how he forged ahead with an idea when others didn’t see his vision and the impact of his commitment to Mazuma Mobile on his family.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonAppleGoogle and Spotify.

#9: Thirty-Two Years Later

Life, lemons and the law: Thirty-Two Years Later (Episode 9)#9: Thirty-Two Years Later

Charlotte Murray knew from a young age that she was adopted. She always had access to her adoption papers, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager that she felt affected by what was written in her notes. She talks about fear of rejection, meeting her birth father for the first time and why she would love to adopt a child in the future.

You can also listen to this episode on: AmazonApple and Spotify.

#10: Fulfilling Dreams

Life lemons and the law: Fulfilling Dreams (Episode 10)#10: Fulfilling Dreams

Both Clare Gregory and Mamunul Wahid knew from an early age that they wanted a career in law. But neither came from what the industry, and perhaps society, would see as a typical background for becoming a lawyer. Clare and Mamun talk about their individual and very challenging journeys to becoming lawyers, from the expectations of family, friends and teachers through to understanding their own self-limiting beliefs.

You can also listen to the episode on AmazonApple and Spotify.


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