In our latest instalment of My Life in Law, we catch up with employment solicitor, Lorna Shuttleworth.
She tells us all about her career journey with Pannone over the last five years and why she’d love to see more animals in the office!
When did you join Pannone Corporate?
I first joined Pannone Corporate in April 2019 as a paralegal in the real estate team. I left in September 2019 to complete my LPC and returned in September 2020 to start my training contract.
I’m now a solicitor in the employment team after qualifying in September 2022.
What was your role/experience prior to joining?
I graduated from university in 2018 and went to work for an investment platform in Salford Quays. My role was two-fold: Quality and Audit Supervisor; and CASS SME. I split my time between monitoring compliance with the FCAs CASS rules, training members of the client services team, and carrying out quality checks and audits.
Prior to and during my studies, I also worked in various roles including as a sales assistant at Next and in hospitality at Manchester United.
Why did you join Pannone?
Whilst at university, I undertook various vacation schemes and had a number of interviews at large national firms, but I didn’t feel that they were quite right for me. I decided to try a different industry but, after a few months, I realised that wasn’t for me either.
I came in to discuss the paralegal position at Pannone and was surprised at how welcome I was made to feel from the first day. I could tell that I would be supported and valued as part of a team.
What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?
I studied law at the University of Leeds and graduated in 2018, moving away from law for a short while before starting as a paralegal at Pannone in April 2019. I then went on to complete the LPC alongside an LLM (Masters in Legal Practice) at BPP in Manchester and returned to Pannone to start my two-year training contract in September 2020.
Why did you choose this route?
I decided whilst doing my GCSEs that I wanted to pursue a career in law and knew early on in my degree that I wanted to be a solicitor. At the time, this was really the only route which was openly discussed for qualifying into private practice.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Finding a solution to a particularly challenging issue is always satisfying – one of my favourite parts of this role is that there is always a new challenge cropping up; it never gets boring!
What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different. In the employment team, we deal with both contentious and non-contentious matters, so I might be reviewing contracts and handbooks, or preparing for a tribunal. Most days, there are urgent queries to deal with, which could relate to any day-to-day employment issue from disciplinaries, grievances or managing sickness absence.
What are your career ambitions?
Personally, I’d like to keep learning and continue to improve. Over time, I’d also like to offer the same level of support that I have received to more junior members of the firm and help them to develop.
If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?
Bring in a ‘Cats in the Office’ policy – having my cat roaming around and popping up on video calls is the main thing I miss about working from home!
What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law?
When I was at school, I always said I wanted to be a graphic designer – unfortunately, I wasn’t too talented at art or IT! I’d also love to do interior design, so maybe something creative.
What can lawyers/the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?
At an individual level, I think we can all be better at open and honest communication, keeping clients updated – and avoiding ‘lawyer talk’!
In terms of the legal profession more broadly, more diversity and inclusion across the board would be beneficial – it would help us to better understand the needs of our clients and, as a result, support them in more appropriate way. I think the legal profession is becoming more inclusive gradually, but there is still more to be done.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Since we spend a lot of our time at a desk, I love getting out for a walk somewhere quiet at the weekend when the weather allows! On a rainy day, it’s relaxing at home with my cat, Merlin. I also have a season ticket for Manchester City, so I go to matches with my Dad and Grandad.
Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?
I used to do Latin and ballroom dancing when I was younger, although I’m not sure I’m very skilled in that anymore!