Lawyer Profile Jennifer Oliver
I became pregnant in my final year at university, and completed my postgraduate diploma over the term of my pregnancy. By the time I started my traineeship, I had a son of nearly two. Balancing that situation with the demands of my traineeship was difficult – very difficult at times – but I never got a sense that Graduate Development viewed my circumstances as an obstacle. On the contrary, I was given great opportunities to develop, and they worked with me to ensure that all of my four seats would be in Glasgow, to tie in with childcare commitments. Also, I really appreciate the effort that all four teams made to accommodate me. I was given plenty of leeway to take work home and deal with it in the evening.
Even though equality is far from being a settled issue in the industry, it helps that there are some really good role models within this firm, making inroads and setting examples of how to achieve a balance. Even at interview, I got the impression that Pinsent Masons is notably forward-thinking in the way it looks for solutions.
I qualified into the Projects group in Glasgow, where I have now been based for nearly four years. Given a little time, it gets easier to achieve a working balance – although I did have to complicate matters by having a second child! Ultimately though, I’m grateful for the faith the firm’s shown in me – I doubt there are many places where I’d have been given either the opportunities or the welcome I’ve received here. I know of other women who’ve been in the same position who haven’t enjoyed anything like so positive an experience.