Saddle fading into a book

From saddle to solicitor

Clarke Willmott’s Laura Wells is celebrating her latest career achievement after making the drastic jump from a classical dressage trainer to a qualified solicitor.

It may not seem like the most natural progression but Laura says her new career in law is the perfect match.

Laura has recently qualified as a solicitor, specialising in commercial property, at our Southampton office. She first joined the firm as a paralegal in 2013 after a life-changing injury lead to the end of her professional riding career.

Laura said: “My life’s work was as a classical dressage trainer, training horses and riders in the classical tradition following the teachings of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

“In October 2007 I had a riding accident and my right foot was partially severed. It was a devastating and life changing injury. They told me it would take several operations over several years to re-attach my foot and get it fully working again so I needed something to throw myself into.

“I was considering something psychology based as sports psychology had been a prominent part of my career, but when I looked to my training to find the qualities and skills to take forward in a new career, they were perfectly matched with the key skills of a solicitor. And so I began my journey into law.”

Laura went back to school in 2008 gaining A Levels followed by a First Class law degree. From there Laura undertook the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the University of Law in Guildford and went on to get her first job in the industry as a Paralegal at Clarke Willmott in 2013.

After completing a training contract with the firm, Laura is now a qualified solicitor and specialises in commercial property.

The career change was a long journey, but Laura says it was worth it and she enjoys the new challenges law brings.

She said: “I found myself disabled at 42 but I was too young to retire. I wanted to set my children a good example as they were at an impressionable age. I wanted to show them that whatever life throws at you, you get back up and start again.”

Paul Hinett, Partner in our Southampton commercial property team, said: “We’re very pleased that Laura is now a fully qualified solicitor. She is a great asset to our team and you would never know that she hasn’t been in this industry her whole life!”