Partner, Chartered Legal Executive and Deputy Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate, Michelle Lamm, gives an insight into her time at Ellisons, and words of wisdom for women starting their careers.

Brief introduction on your career and time with Ellisons

My career first started with Ellisons when I left college and joined the Frinton office as a receptionist on a temporary basis covering the permanent receptionist who was off sick at the time. When the receptionist returned, my role changed to Secretary on a permanent basis.

After nearly four years with the firm, unfortunately, there were not any career opportunities at the time, so I left to further my career elsewhere. It was during this time that I undertook my Chartered Legal Executive and Trust and Estate Practitioner studies. Once I had achieved my educational goals, I had a strong desire to return to my starting place of Ellisons Solicitors in the Frinton office.

In only a few short years, I have managed to work my way up to a Partner position heading up the Tendring offering and supporting my Head of Department as Deputy Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

Have you ever faced career challenges? How did you overcome these challenges?

My career progression hasn’t always been easy.  During my younger advising days, it was clear that some clients didn’t always have complete faith in my abilities. I overcame this by ensuring I had good legal knowledge from studying hard and after time, I became confident in difficult situations and therefore gained respect of the clients, some of which have remained with me throughout my career.

Do you have any words of wisdom for women starting out in their career?

Some words of wisdom that I have for anyone wanting to get into the legal profession would be that the legal profession is a passion, rather than a job.  I love my career and job and therefore even when things get tough, I am still doing what I love to do. I am a big believer in nurturing the younger colleagues, sharing my knowledge and watching them grow. This is very rewarding for me and gives me great satisfaction. I have been very fortunate to work with some very inspiring people in my career and I am lucky to be in a position where I can pass this on.

I would encourage working hard but also to have fun whilst you are doing it, and make sure you have time for yourself as maintaining a work/life balance is incredibly important, especially over the last few years which have been tough for many.

One lesson I learned early was to feel comfortable admitting you don’t know the answer all the time, but be willing to find out what the answer is and go back to it. I feel this earns the respect of clients and fellow professionals.

It is always good to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new areas.  Don’t be afraid to try something new!