Lorna Thom (LLB Law 2007)
Tell us briefly about yourself and career
I am a Family & Matrimonial Solicitor specialising in all areas of private family law. Following graduation in 2007, I undertook my Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London and went on to train at a large firm in the Thames Valley. Today I work in a provincial Buckinghamshire town and represent a diverse range of clients going through relationship breakdown and family disputes. I live with my husband (also a Family Lawyer!) and my young daughter and, away from the office, I enjoy tennis and walking.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?
The high quality teaching and the lovely campus. Foxhill House was a lovely place to study, full of highly experienced lecturers and great resources.
What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?
Campus life. There was always lots going on around campus, with many clubs and societies to join, which helped you make friends and enjoy yourself away from your studies.
What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?
Studying Law and qualifying as a Solicitor or Barrister is a marathon and not a sprint, which can involve long hours; both in terms of studying and working in practice. Students beginning their studies should try to get as much work experience as they can and experience different areas of law, as this will give them a clearer idea of what they may wish to do post-graduation.
What are you up to now? How did you get there?
I am a Family & Matrimonial Solicitor specialising in all aspects of divorce, separation, financial remedies, private law children cases, the cohabiting family and protective injunctions. Since qualification in September 2008, I have worked exclusively in this field practicing in numerous locations throughout the Thames Valley. I knew I always wanted to do Family Law and I made sure that all of my studies / training were focused on this area.
What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?
Family Law can be challenging. It is a fast-paced area of law and you have to deal with clients at a traumatic and difficult period in their life. For those students interested in working within the Family Law sector, I would recommend doing pro bono experience, perhaps at a local Citizen's Advice Bureau, as well as some office based placements to get a real feel for the type of cases that come up.
How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?
The Careers Centre was good at helping me draft a suitable CV. Applying for training contracts can be a long and rigorous process, and getting advice about top CV tips was really useful, especially when you are applying for limited training places along with hundreds of other applicants.
What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?
Students graduating this year should be trying to do as many work experience / pro bono placements as possible in their chosen legal field. This will not only give them an insight as to whether their chosen legal field is right for them (remember it's easier to change your mind before qualifying into a certain field) but it will give them lots of experience for their CV, and to talk about at training contract / pupillage interviews.
What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?
The University of Reading was a great place to study and holds fond memories for me. My favourite memory was graduating and realising that three years of hard work had paid off, and had set me up towards my further studies and training contract, and my overall goal of qualifying as a solicitor.