I&N Blog: Katie

In many ways I have been extremely fortunate not to have had to deal this far with any of the challenges and changes that have been brought to bear on the profession as a result of lockdown: I have been on maternity leave since mid March 2020 and gave birth to my daughter in early April. I have felt very privileged to be able to let the worries and problems that my colleagues have dealt with pass me by almost entirely as I have focussed on my new baby and 3 year old son.

However, radical change is yet to come: we had our house on the market to sell before the pandemic became an issue, with the intention of buying a slightly bigger place in London. When lockdown seemed to be a certainty my husband and I made the decision to go to stay with my family in a very rural area more than 3 hours from London so that we would have grandparents on hand when I had the baby, and so our 3 year old could have more space and freedom whilst the restrictions were in force. As restrictions eased and the estate agents were able to return to work, we sold our house. Given the likelihood of a significant market downturn, and the spectre of a second peak this winter, we have no desire to return imminently to London My husband is able to work remotely and his company are encouraging employees to do so permanently. I had intended to take maternity leave until at least the end of 2020.

The question that we are now asking ourselves is whether it is feasible to make our relocation permanent. The biggest barrier to doing so is my practice, which is almost exclusively dependant on access to tribunals in London. The question is whether I can change my practice so that I don’t need to be in London more than a day or two a week? Can I change to a more paperwork based practice? Or expand and develop the work I do in other areas so that I can do more County Court work on the Circuit where I am now based? How do I make new contacts with solicitors to gain these instructions? It is a daunting prospect to almost start again building a practice at 10 years call and at the moment I have more questions than answers.

But maybe this change is what I need to shake up a practice that had become rather stuck in a rut of little progression. It’s hard to tell whether the slight knot I feel in my stomach is trepidation at committing career suicide or at excitement at a new and flourishing prospect.

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