Amanda Sime talks about her training contract

Canter Levin & Berg trainee solicitor reflects on her career route

by Amanda Sime, trainee solicitor at Canter Levin & Berg

Growing up, I always wanted to teach English. When I went to Carmel college in 2011, one of my friends in the year above was studying law and kept telling me how amazing the classes were and how inspirational the teacher was. I took this as an A-Level and it completely changed my life and my career goals! I was intrigued by every topic and couldn’t wait for each lesson. I started my qualifying Law degree at the University of Liverpool in 2013.

Because my sister and I were the first in our family to go to University, I got some financial support from the University (and the bank of mum and dad!) but I still had to work part time around my degree. I spent lots of nights working in the Krazyhouse night club from 7pm – 7am, and then (sometimes) getting up for lectures. I made sure to do as much work experience as possible and I did lots at Gregory Abrams Davidson Solicitors. I also participated in a few shadowing schemes organised by the University.

I graduated in July 2016 and started a job in the GAD Personal Injury department in September 2016. At this point, I had no idea what type of law I wanted to study. I had really enjoyed the medical law module but hadn’t yet found what I was really passionate about; I just knew I didn’t want to do anything related to contract or land law! I worked at GAD for a year, working in Nando’s at weekends and night-times and after 12 months I left to go travelling.

I travelled in Asia & South America for a year and had the absolute best time of my life! Looking back, I am so glad I took this time out of studying to explore the world and gain lots of new experiences. I had hated my time in Personal Injury so much that it had put me off working in law in general and I was back to my original life plan; I was going to waitress full time and do a PGCE in the nighttime. A few days after I got home from travelling (without a penny to my name) I heard of a job going in the family department at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors.

I went to the interview and was very honest with my manager, Martin. I told him I had no idea if I even wanted to do law anymore! Martin talked me through some of his own life experiences and encouraged me to take the job and figure out what I really wanted to do, and said the firm would support me either way. At this point, I still thought I’d work there for a few months and then go back to University. After two weeks I knew that I’d be staying in family law for the rest of my career and not looking back.

I adore my work, and I love that I get to genuinely connect with people who need my help. I love working closely with lots of different kinds of people and being able to make a positive difference in their lives. I eventually went back to University to start my Legal Practice Course (LPC) in September 2019 with the University of Law (based on the University of Liverpool campus). I do this part time, two nights a week while working full time. I started my training contract with CLB on 1st September 2020 and I will qualify in March 2022.. I plan on staying in family law for the long run. I have finally found what I am passionate about! I could talk about family law forever and I really bore all my family and friends by going on and on about it all the time.

If you have any doubts about your pathway or are undecided about your future steps, please do not hesitate to contact me and we can talk this through!

Comment: This article was first published in the October 2020 update of the Law Society Merseyside Junior Lawyers’ Division bulletin (www.mersysidejld.com). We are delighted that Amanda is already a key part of our family law team and also very pleased to see that Louisa Gardner, formerly a clerk with Canter Levin & Berg, has recently started a training contract with Bermans.