ULaw alumna Nastassia Burton took her LPC at ULaw Chester. She’s now managing partner at the UK’s largest specialist family law firm. Here she talks about her journey to the top, and offers some great insights for aspiring lawyers.
I studied law because I come from a large family of lawyers – my dad, my two uncles, my great uncle – and now my brother and cousin. I knew from a very young age that a career in law was for me (despite my dad trying to dissuade me by allowing me to do work experience at his office when I was 14 years old). I was keen to study a subject that would provide me with an intellectual challenge and a career helping others.
I really enjoyed studying at ULaw; the resources and facilities were great. I’m immensely thankful for the guidance, support and knowledge of the teaching staff, in particular those in the careers centre who helped and guided me along the way. I greatly appreciate the focus on getting students like me ready for a career, with an early emphasis on how to advise clients in certain scenarios.
My heart was set on a career at Stowe Family Law and I was lucky to be offered a training contact. My first job in law commenced in 2008, shortly after graduating and I qualified as a solicitor two years later. During my training, I gained experience in all work relating to family law, including divorce and separation, cohabitation, financial disputes and child-related arrangements. I was thrilled to be made Partner in October 2012.
As a managing partner at the largest family law firm in the country no two days are ever the same. As well as overseeing the running of both of the firm’s Cheshire offices in Hale and Wilmslow, I advise people on the practical, legal and financial consequences resulting from the breakdown of relationships. This covers a wide range of assets from the modest to those involving complex business structures, as well as those cases involving children. Many of the people I help are going through one of the most traumatic experiences in their lives and emotions and passions are often at fever pitch. As a family lawyer it is important to understand that each case is different and requires a tailored approach in the most stress-free way for the client.
As I was determined to have a career in family law, a law degree and LPC were a good first stepping stone in preparation for life in practice. They were essential in helping me secure my first job as a trainee solicitor.
My advice to law students is simply to enjoy it. My time studying law went far too fast. Embrace every opportunity. Get focused and apply for work experience or vacation schemes as soon as possible. Work hard and never give up – and don’t be put off by rejections.
What gets me out of bed in the morning is my one-year old daughter shouting ‘mama!’ Jokes aside, I get out of bed knowing that working hard and doing the best for your clients can really make a difference at a critical and vulnerable time in their life.
Not a lot of people know that one set of bad results doesn’t mean the end to a dream career. I received disappointing GCSEs but with hard work and determination, I was able to turn things around and pursue a successful career in law.
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