Legally Run – Sophie Warren – S2E3

This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Rob Hanna is joined by Sophie Warren, who runs the popular Instagram account, @LegallyRun, which she set up to document her challenge to complete a whopping 10 half marathons in 7 months to help raise money for charity!

Sophie is an ambitious aspiring solicitor and London Young Lawyers Ambassador in Birmingham. Sophie shares her motivations behind @legallyrun and the importance of persistence in both personal & career-based challenges. Sophie also offers extra insights into what legal professionals can be doing to add value to their careers and the legal sector as a whole.

This year, Sophie will be running the London Marathon for The Haven charity, in memory of her grandfather. Read more about her story & donate here:

In this episode, they discuss:

  • Becoming a Legal Influencer on Instagram
  • Top tips to improve your online presence
  • How Sophie ran 10 half marathons in 7 months!


[0:00:00.0] Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by Sophie Warren, an inspirational legal professional and founder of Legally Run, which is a highly popular legal blog on Instagram where Sophie documents her legal career and hassuccessfully run 10 half marathons across the country in 7 months to raise money for various charities. So, welcome Sophie.

[0:00:24.0] Sophie Warren: Hi Rob, thank you for inviting me.

[0:00:27.0] Rob Hanna: Absolute pleasure and we always have to start of our customary question on the LegallySpeaking Podcast. And so, on the scale of 1-10, 10 being very real how real do you rate the TV hit series Suits?

[0:00:42.6] Sophie Warren: I probably have to say about four.

[0:00:46.6] Rob Hanna: Four? Okay.

[0:00:47.5] Sophie Warren: I feel like it portrays this really glamorous lifestyle of lawyers which I just feel doesn’t exist. And I feel like you get paid more in Suits than you actually do in real life, so yeah, not particularly realistic but it’s you know it’s fun to watch and it gives young lawyers a bit of inspiration if they do want to go into corporate world.

[0:01:07.0] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said I think four is probably a fair reflection.

[0:01:10.4] Sophie Warren: Yeah.

[0:01:11.2] Rob Hanna: And so, at the top I mentioned the word inspirational, so I genuinely am impressed with how you fit it all in with what you do. But people perhaps not too familiar with who you are and your sort of journey. Do you want to tell us a bit about you and we’ll obviously talk more about Legally Run a bit further on, but tell us a bit about you?

[0:01:27.7] Sophie Warren: So, I currently work in Birmingham in a law firm called Freeths, I currently work in a real estate department. I went to university in Birmingham and I live not too far from Birmingham either. So, I feel like I know that market quite well. Did a Law with French Law degree, so I’d like to think I’m a good French speaker, but I haven’t been to France in a while, so I have to test that out. Yes, so in my spare time I like running, as you have heard, and I didn’t really run when I was younger and then I wanted to do this event at school and you had to audition for it.

So, I practiced, and I actually didn’t get into the event despite having trained for it. But, I thought “You know what, that’s not going to put me off. I’m just going to keep on going, keep on going” and then I just carried on the way through Uni, post-Uni because it’s obviously a free way to do exercise as well, so it keeps you really fit.

And then, last year I decided to do these 10 half marathons which I think we will probably discuss later in detail sort of the reasons behind it. So that is sort of the running side to me.

[0:02:25.6] Rob Hanna: Did you always wanted to get into the law? Is that sort of been in the family or is that what you wanted to do?

[0:02:30.5] Sophie Warren: I actually wanted to be a pilot.

[0:02:32.3] Rob Hanna: Really?

[0:02:33.3] Sophie Warren: When I was really small.

[0:02:35.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah.

[0:02:36.1] Sophie Warren: And I just found it absolutely fascinating, I just think that you have so much responsibilityand these aircrafts are so complicated. My dad was in the air force. 

[0:02:45.1] Rob Hanna: Right.

[0:02:46.0] Sophie warren: And he worked with helicopters, so maybe that was some sort of link, but I just find flying fascinating. But I soon realized that my eyesight probably wasn’t good enough to be a pilot and so, I thought I’d go down the law route. It has mainly been law. I did consider sort of History and French because I still wanted to do a language but – an academic subject.

But I decided to go sort of with Law and the French side of it as well. And then since graduating I know that is the career I’d like to go into. So yeah, pretty certain and more certain than I was when I was about five.

[0:03:17.9] Rob Hanna: And I know there are lot of influencers and people as well with regards and it’s something I am big on championing, yes London is where there is, you know, great quality legal work available but you know outside of London as well and Birmingham.

And I know a number of people sort of championing and banging that drum. But you know, people in the midlands, there is good quality work and opportunities for people there. There you know, if they don’t, for whatever reason get a training contract or an opportunity in the London market, there are still good opportunities outside London, Right?

[0:03:43.1] Sophie Warren: Yeah, definitely I mean Birmingham is the second biggest city in the U.K. and it is very vibrant and you know in the past sort of 10 years it’s really sort of up and came, and it’s even more up and coming, so many developments going on. And most of sort of the large law firms do have a presence in Birmingham.

So, if you didn’t or couldn’t want to come to London you know you can still get a really good quality work in Birmingham with the chance of coming to London you know on day trips to offices or even doing secondments so just because you are in Birmingham it doesn’t mean you are cut off from London.

And especially you know, if I say if HS2 comes in obviously, that link between Birmingham and London will become even stronger because obviously travel time will be reduced. I think Birmingham is a really great place to be and I think sort of give it another five and ten years, I think Birmingham and London you know, equally as good.

[0:04:39.8] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said no I really wanted people to be aware of that as well because I think a lot of people get so stressed and write to us saying, “Look, I have not got it I have not found anything in London. I know I need to be in London.” And yes, that’s where yes, London is a great place to be, but people should be aware that there are other options that you can facilitate, okay.

And I guess, you know, a large part of what you do is running, so you know Legally Run, but have you always liked running? Have you always been a runner?

[0:05:04.0] Sophie Warren: Well, like I said before I didn’t actually really like running that much but I auditioned for that event at school and I obviously didn’t get it. I probably come from more of a swimming background. My dad is more of a massive sea swimmer, so I probably just got chucked into the water at age three and expected to swim.

And so, I sort of grew up with swimming and then throughout school I played team sports like hockey, netball, rounders etcetera. And then when I was in the university, I will sort of combined swimming and running so I did Triathlon. I’d say from probably like the age 16 when I did my first half marathon I thought, “Okay, actually I’m quite good at running” and you know it’s a really good way to keep fit. But I haven’t always been a runner so it just goes to show that, you know, you don’t have to be born and natural at it, you can work hard and get there. 

[0:05:49.9] Rob Hanna: You can indeed and so when did you found Legally Run?

[0:05:53.6] Sophie Warren: So, I founded Legally Run in December 2018, so just over a year ago but it wasn’t actually called Legally Run. It was called Soph Runs Halfs and that was obviously founded on the idea that I was running 10 half marathons. So, I initially set it up as a platform to sort of promote my races and my fundraising. And then it was only in about April or May because I was my LPC last year, that I thought you know, I need something else to talk about when I’m not talking about running. And I don’t want people to think that that’s the only thing that I do, so I wanted to sort of incorporate the legal elements of my life.

So, that’s when I changed it to Legally Run. I did have some other names that I wanted to use – 

[0:06:39.5] Rob Hanna: Go on, give us one, go on. 

[0:06:42.4] Sophie Warren: Soph Runs Law because I thought one day you know when I am a partner, I’d be running the law. I think it was between Legally Run and Soph Runs Law, but I decided not to have my name in it so I went with the Legally Run. 

[0:06:54.3] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no I think it’s a good name. It’s a good name. And so, obviously 10 half marathons is a massive achievement so congratulations for doing that. But what fuelled your passion for wanting to start this?

[0:07:07.2] Sophie Warren: So, in September 2018 my stepmum sadly died of secondary breast cancer and she was a really brave woman. And she was also a very successful businesswoman in the Middle-East and she had this really successful career. And she had to give it up to move back to England and sort of undergo chemotherapy.

And for me, when I think about my career and my future, when I am successful, I don’t want to have to make that decision. So, I thought you know what I want to actually actively help raise money for charity so that they can you know, put the money towards finding a cure for secondary breast cancer because it’s actually incurable.

And there aren’t any drugs – well, that wasn’t at the time – but there aren’t any drugs successful on the NHS for it. So, that was sort of my main reason why I wanted to do it and also my dad had run the London Marathon previously for Breast Cancer Now and so I just thought that this sort of running and fund raising for Breast Cancer Now was a really good, you know, initiative. So, that’s sort of why I wanted to do 10 and a half marathons, so it is quite moving story I think and –

[0:08:22.1] Rob Hanna: Absolutely. 

[0:08:23.6] Sophie Warren: Well, you know, good – Well, I’d see good results hopefully, good results one day from it. 

[0:08:23.6] Rob Hanna: No, I think this is wonderful what you are doing in that sort of giving back pace and I guess what’s admirable about the fact is you know, you are working in the legal industries so a lot of people are listening in are like, “How did you actually fit in training?” so, just talk us through like a typical day when you are trying to sort of train for the 10 half marathons in over 7 months so that’s packing them in, right? 

[0:08:46.2] Rob Hanna: Yeah, definitely I mean I definitely think my project management skills are now through the roof. Yeah, it was quite difficult. I was doing my LPC part time as well. So, I was working in a law firm obviously busy commercial law firm, doing my LPC once a week and then having to train for half marathons and sort of run Legally Run as well, which is quite time consuming.

So, I sort of… I really had to prioritize and learn time management and I had to make sure, I mean my priority was probably my LPC at the time. Because obviously I was studying and I wanted to get a good result but I had to make sure that sort of every weekend I was doing a long run, I was going to the gym a couple of times a week and maybe trying to go running once during the week.

So, it really was quite difficult especially sort of from December to April when it’s dark, it’s wet, it’s cold the last thing you wanted to do at night is go running. And it takes a lot of will power but luckily, I have some really good friends at home, Charlie and Katrina; they have literally been like my rocks, they would come running with me.

They even – one of them even did one a half marathon with me and she talked the whole way through, really annoying but got me around. So, I had quite a lot of support as well.

[0:10:00.9] Rob Hanna: And that’s important isn’t it, particularly when you’re taking on these big challenges, you know, to keep the consistencies up you need a good network around. 

[0:10:05.9] Sophie Warren: It is, definitely and I think that’s where Legally Run helped as well because you know I was constantly updating my followers. And everyone would comment saying you know, “you’re doing really well”, “I’m really proud of you”, “You’re an inspiration, keep going” blah, blah and even though it’s on social media and it’s not in person it’s still really nice to know that people are encouraging you on. So, I personally think that if I hadn’t had that sort of network on social media, it probably would have been a lot harder. 

[0:10:31.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no absolutely and you are very good at sort of keeping up to updating your followers in what you are doing as well which I think is really important with it. And we touched on it there, you mentioned your father stood on the London Marathon and that’s your next challenge, right? That’s the next one coming up – 

[0:10:47.0] Sophie Warren: It is, yeah.

[0:10:48.0] Rob Hanna: So, you kind of take the box of 10 and a half marathons and onto the full marathon now. 

[0:10:52.3] Sophie Warren: I mean yeah, I always like to have a challenge because I think life would be a bit boring if you didn’t have so much to challenge yourself with, so yeah that’s right. In 10 weeks’, time or however long it is – yeah, I’ll be running 26.2 miles which is a fairly long way.

And a lot of people said, “Oh, you know, you’ve ran a half marathon you’ll be fine.” But the thought of having to run another half marathon on top of the half marathon makes it feel like sick. And the training is a lot more intense I think, and sort of when you do half marathons you don’t really need to change that much of your lifestyle, like your diet etcetera like that’s fine.

Whereas with the marathon you actually have to sort of change it and, you know, you can’t go out every Friday, and still have about five glasses of wine so… it’s quite a big difference. But no, I’m really looking forward to that and that’s sort of another story quite close to my heart as well. 

[0:11:41.1] Rob Hanna: Yeah, so who are you running for the London marathon?

[0:11:43.5] Sophie Warren: So, I’m running the London Marathon for more local charity. So, my 10 and a half marathons were for a national charity Breast Cancer Now that was. This one is a local charity and Wolverhampton called the Haven. 

[0:11:57.2] Rob Hanna: Which we must say was well publicized, you made the local press, and you know it’s a big news – 

[0:12:01.2] Sophie Warren: I did, I did yeah. 

[0:12:02.0] Rob Hanna: So, let’s kind of give credit to you, really well done. 

[0:12:04.4] Sophie Warren: Yeah, I did. I made it into the local newspaper which is fab and actually sort of took up half a page and my face is massive on there but at least people have seen it. Yes, that was very good publicity for both them and me.

They are a local charity that supports victims of domestic violence and homelessness and I volunteered with them when I was 16. And they are actually the charity that I did my first half marathon for, so they are not completely unfamiliar to me. But the reason why I’m running the London marathon for them is my granddad was the founder of that charity back in the 1970s’.

And unfortunately, he sadly passed away in August and he was really, really dedicated to his work. You know, up until the day that he died he was on the board of trustees and you know, his work was his life and when I was younger, he always used to talk about sort of domestic violence, the changes in legislation.

So perhaps that’s where my passion to do law came from as well. When he passed away the Haven’s sort of wrote an article about him and they really said how the women in Wolverhampton wouldn’t be where they are if sort of my granddad hadn’t set that charity up.

So, I wanted to do sort of in his memory and you know for the wonderful work that he had done. And he also didn’t to get to watch me finish all my other runs as well which is quite sad. So, I know that he’d be very proud. 

[0:13:24.8] Rob Hanna: Absolutely. 

[0:13:25.6] Sophie Warren: To do this for quite like a charity close to home. And this morning actually before I came here, I went to the charity and met their fund-raising manager so we sort of discussed like initiatives we could do in fund raisings events because we have been emailing but I think it’s better to meet someone in person.

[0:13:41.9] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and we will definitely share all the links after this and the people that are Legally Speaking loyal listeners, I’m sure will be very happy to contribute and do what we can to get behind you. And that was really nice to talk about your grandfather. I think we talked all fair about… 

[0:13:58.4] Sophie Warren: …yeah.

[0:13:59.0] Rob Hanna: ….so you may recall Kissoon Carr. The Carr side, my grandfather actually sort of ran a very sort of successful law firm and I wanted to lead the legacy in sort of his honor in terms of investing class work, you need a lot of trustees and charity work. So, it’s really nice that you are sort of doing that as well. So, it’s really a pleasure and honour to have people like you doing great things. 

[0:14:13.6] Sophie Warren: Thank you.

[0:14:14.8] Rob Hanna: Okay and the other thing is you are really big networker because you’re at the early start of your legal career. There is a massive sea change to what it was years ago. You got to be prepared to get from out of the desk and just draft in the documents sitting from how – you got to get out there and network, right? So, I know you are close friends with London Young Lawyer’s group – 

[0:14:30.4] Sophie Warren: I am yeah.

[0:14:31.4] Rob Hanna: Again, for people at sort of at the junior start of their careers or even mid – senior ways through their careers what tips do you have for networking and how do you go about it?

[0:14:39.0] Sophie Warren: So, this is something that I wish I did know when I was at university. I think I sort of have three main tips, just be confident and don’t be afraid you know. When you meet new clients, you are going to have to speak and you’ve never met them before, there is absolutely nothing different from meeting another lawyer or an accountant as such.

So, just be confident, be yourself and you can’t really go wrong with that. And networking is more about actually making friends as well as making sort of acquaintances, and most of the time you probably won’t even talk about work related stuff. You’ll probably more comment in trust.

I think if for example, you are networking with a law firm that you wanted to join I think it’s good to be prepared. So, you know if you want to go to a partner and ask some questions then it’s good to sort of have done your research beforehand. But if that is not the situation and it is not always as important to be prepared.

The more you do it, the easier it gets and I’ve really have seen that because at first you know, a couple of years ago, I felt scared going up to someone I have never met before who was quite high up in the legal profession but I think they really respect that. And the worst thing that someone is going to say to you is, “No”. Or “I’m sorry I haven’t got the time to speak to you.” And if that is the worst thing someone is ever going to say to you, well it’s nothing, it really isn’t anything. You would really be surprised how far it gets you and like I said before, people prefer speaking in person than on email or phone calls. So, I think people overlook it sometimes but it’s really important and it’s so, yeah really good to build thoserelationships. 

[0:16:11.1] Rob Hanna: I think you know; in the modern day you have got to take charge of your career and you have to go out there and get it. And actually, if you approach these people with something quite you know interesting or substantive or quite flattering you know, most people will be very happy to help you.

And you know, a lot of people have got the perception that they will be too busy but actually no, if you showed real interest and write to these people saying or get in touch with these people that you want to meet them and your kind of demanding their time. They’ll actually appreciate that because you are actually taking things seriously, so.

[0:16:35.1] Sophie warren: Yeah, I agree because the… I mean every undergraduate or graduate knows that the legal profession is so competitive, and you have to be pro-active otherwise you are not going to get a training contract, you know. Unfortunately, in most of the cases it’s not just going to fall on your lap and if it does then you are extremely lucky.

So, you do have to be pro-active and I think networking and going up to people is a sign of being pro-active. And then the person will sort of reciprocate that and yeah and help you out and then you know you will be remembered, and you will be recognized as that person that went up and sort of introduced yourself.

I actually was speaking to someone the other day and they said that the best icebreaker for networking is to compliment someone’s clothing which yeah, if someone came up to me and said, “I like your handbag”, I’d feel like, “Thanks.” 

[0:17:21.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah, it’s not a bad thing, is it? You got a nice compliment. It’s never a bad thing. 

[0:17:23.0] Sophie Warren: No, no, no.

[0:17:24.5] Rob Hanna: It probably the best thing you can do. And you know we are in 2020 so social media is massive. 

[0:17:30.3] Sophie Warren: It is. 

[0:17:31.3] Rob Hanna: What do you think people should be doing particularly if they are connected to the law because a lot of people think, “Oh, I’m going to the law” you know “I’ve got to keep sure of my social media’s X.” You know, what’s your advice to people who are maybe trying to raise their profile online with social media or any tips you give because you have got huge followings, right? 

[0:17:44.8] Sophie Warren: I think sort of…  if you want to be what’s called a sort of legal blogger or you know, have a presence on social media you do need to sort of find a market or a certain niche because like you said like there are growing, like there are so many law blogs and so many people in social media now.

So, I think with me it is sort of my running as well as my law career. And so, my fund-raising elements so that attracts both lawyers and both people who are into running. It’s good to promote the relationship between law and social media because like you said people are like, “Oh, I’m going into a career law” like “I have to be really careful with what I put in social media.”

And to a certain extent, yes, but more and more law firms for example are using social media, Shoosmiths is massive on social media so is Pinsent Masons, Clyde… most big law firms now have a presence in social media. So, it’s a way to engage with them again before you sort of meet them in person.

So, if you are sort of looking to start a law blog or have a presence in social media I wouldn’t necessarily think of “Oh, can I do this, can I do that?” I would just sort of go for it, have a think about what it is you want to get from that blog because obviously for me at first, it was to promote my running and fund-raising and so my main aim was to get donations.

But then after that obviously that evolved, and it was okay “I was to showcase my legal career; I want to attract followers for my network. So, have a think about what it is that you want from your presence in social media because like I said before, so if you give to people then you’ll probably get back.

And I found that a lot like you mentioned earlier with the London Young Lawyers Group, yeah, I took care of their social media in December. I love doing those sorts of things because you can be really creative, and you get to know different people and different people follow you. So, that was great and then I was invited to their Christmas party.

[0:19:37.9] Rob Hanna: And there was one thing I was going to say, I think there are wonderful site and we do a lot of work with them as well, but you definitely encourage people sort of any sort of PQE point really, to join them. You get so many benefits from that, right? 

[0:19:47.2] Sophie Warren: Yeah, a 100% I’m not qualified yet. And then you know I have sort of a liaison with you know people who have five years PQE, people who aren’t qualified, people who aren’t even in the legal profession. So, it’s a really great way to expand your network. And they are really supportive, and they were all really friendly. And when we went to their Christmas part and like chatting away, I’m actually now an ambassador for them which is really great as well.

You know, you get to promote their events, get to really sort of chat with them about what’s going on in both like London and hopefully sort of promote them in Birmingham as well. 

[0:20:21.3] Rob Hanna: And because you – I think last year and this year there was some really cool events because you know a lot of the influencers in Birmingham, do you want to talk about some of the events that sort of happened last year and stuff that may be happening this year in Birmingham from sort of a legal events perspective? 

[0:20:33.2] Sophie Warren: I think there’s definitely probably like more frequent events in London than there are in Birmingham I mean, but I know that I’ve been to quite a few balls with the Birmingham solicitor’s group. That’s where I went to and Christy was there, so it was nice to catch up with her. So that’s the thing, I say like London and Birmingham could one day be equal but there’s still more social scene probably going on in London. But over the – oh, I think what it was you was talking about was the Birmingham Person of the Year Awards. 

[0:20:58.6] Rob Hanna: Correct, yeah. 

[0:20:59.2] Sophie Warren: Yeah, they happen like every May or so. And again, that’s not just actually lawyers, there’s like people from different professions. So yeah, that’s another great event that takes place in Birmingham. So yeah, no there’s quite a lot of social stuff going on. 

[0:21:14.1] Rob Hanna: So, Sophie is there anything from you experience today in the legal profession, what you would change or offer a service to help people in your position?

[0:21:22.5] Sophie Warren: The one thing I found really hard is sort of balancing doing applications, working sort of full time, and not really having any sort of support and what I mean by that is there are so many good organizations out there like Aspiring Solicitors that do lots and lots of good work, and you know, really people get TCs.

But if you don’t qualify for that then obviously like, you know, you can’t really benefit from their help and that is sort of where I think I’ve like fallen short, because I don’t have that additional external support. So, I think in the future, I would maybe like to sort of set up some sort of organization that helps people in my position.

So, you know, if you haven’t gone down the traditional route, if you’ve done your LPC part time, if you’re working full time, you know, you don’t have the time to do vacation schemes and more and more firms are recruiting exclusively from Vac schemes and which is great. Obviously, you can get to know the firm etcetera.

But if you’re working full time, it means that you have to take annual leave or you know, and it’s quite difficult because whilst it is your career and you need to sacrifice – make sacrifices which I hundred percent agree with. You know, if you spend all your annual leave working, you’ll burn out and that’s not wellbeing which is obviously something the legal profession is trying to promote.

And I think, if law firm – if more and more law firms turn to recruiting exclusively via Vac schemes, that almost creates another gap in the legal profession which excludes people that can’t apply for Vac schemes. Say for example, I actually met a law firm, and they recruit exclusively well, nearly exclusively from the Vac scheme.

And I said, “Well, what if you are working fulltime then you can’t do it?” and they said, “Oh, you know, you can put that down as a mitigating circumstance.” And I was like, I don’t really see it as a mitigating circumstance, I see that as like, 99% of probably graduates, you know, trying to get legal experience, trying to earn money.

So, I think, you know, something needs to be created where, sort of I don’t know, maybe be a three-day Vac scheme or four-day Vac scheme, something that is more manageable if you are working. I’d like to help people that have been in my position or haven’t, yeah, taken this sort of traditional route of law. 

[0:23:38.8] Rob Hanna: Well said. And obviously, you’re definitely career driven as well, that’s not like – you’re deeply passionate about Legal Run and wanted to get that off the ground, but there’s no disputing that you know, you want to be a partner in a law firm one day, and you’re going on that journey. And it’s definitely going to happen.

[0:23:52.8] Sophie Warren: It will. 

[0:23:53.7] Rob Hanna: I have no doubts about that, but you know, what are some of your future ambitions, sort of short-term ambitions? What are you hoping to achieve? And just give us a flavour of your journey. 

[0:24:02.2] Sophie Warren: One of things I want to sort of showcase is that, your career journey to sort of being where you want to be is not actually as straight forward as people think and I think people still have this sort of perception of the legal profession as being, you graduate, you get a training contract, you qualify two years after that.

But that is just not how it works, and I think a lot of people need to understand that. There are so many different branches to that like, people have things going on, people don’t always have the time to invest in sort of applications. And it’s, you know, it can be quite disjointed, because me, for example I thought I wanted to be a family lawyer, this is after a pilot.

And so, I actually worked in family lawyer for about a year and then realized, actually this definitely isn’t for me, that my skills are better suited to sort of a commercial environment. So, then I left and obviously went into commercial property. So, that’s sort of has delayed my career by a year I guess, you could say. So, I haven’t taken the traditional route at all, and I still don’t have a training contract. So, I’m doing all this extra stuff, but I’m actually not on the route to qualification yet. 

[0:25:14.5] Rob Hanna: But there is a message in there of kind of just don’t give up, I think that’s the other thing as well. Determination is so important? 

[0:25:20.6] Sophie Warren: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, you know, I’ve been rejected from, you know, multiple law firms and it is disheartening, and you do think, what actually that – what more can I do, what more can I offer? Especially if you do extracurricular stuff you do have other interests but if you want to get somewhere and that is your goal, then just don’t give up.

Because if you work hard, it will be recognized, and you will get to where you want to be. And I need to practice what I preach because you know, for example today I got rejection of probably one of my dream law firms. And you know, I spend ten minutes feeling sorry myself, and then I was like, “No, it’s fine. Like, move on. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.” So yeah, it’s a tough one. 

[0:26:04.7] Rob Hanna: It’s a tough one, but I think that’s the whole point of having these sort of brutally conversations is the fact that – you know what? If you’re prepared to dig deep, you’re prepared to go on that way. You’re prepared to do all of these things. That’s what the legal profession wants to take on now, it’s not, you know, it’s not a case you just going to get a job. It’s never been like that, but it is even more competitive than ever. So, you need to be prepared for yourself out there. 

[0:26:23.9] Sophie Warren: And I think, you know, lawyers aren’t any more people who just sit in the office, churn out contract after contract. You do need to be able to build relationships with people. You do need to be able to go out and network. And if you’re doing all of that even before your legal career has started, then it means that when you’re, you know, when you’re actually qualified, it’ll be so much easier.

And so, me for example one of my – you asked me, so if that probably was the question, what my sort of aims were. And it is to build my professional network, both in Birmingham, both in you know, in London, hopefully across the country maybe in a few or so countries abroad. Because once you build this sort of brand and you get a reputation, that probably, you know, you might – win clientsthat way or, you know, and that – yeah, that’s probably one of my main aim as well.

[0:27:12.4] Rob Hanna: Yeah. And what about your French? Keep up your French? Because I kept telling people after I did my A-levels, was in a little bit of Uni, I’ll keep up my French, I think one of my biggest regrets right now is not being able to speak very good French at all, so. 

[0:27:26.0] Sophie Warren: Yeah, I mean when I left Uni, one of my – I thought I was going to read Lamont every day, I struggle to read the newspaper every day. So, that was out the window. It’s like riding a bike though, if you were forced into a situation where you had to learn it again, you would be able to. And occasionally I do sort of read an article in French.

But you know, everyone speaks English today, sadly to say. So, it’s actually harder to find someone to speak French to you but, depending sort of where I end up in ten years’ time. You never know, I might be able to use it a bit more but I’m going skiing next week in France, they speak French. So, we’ll see if I can order a beer or something.

[0:28:02.5] Rob Hanna: Exactly, exactly. And in terms of just the last couple of points from me, the legal industry is going to change significantly during your career. What do you think are going to be some of the main changes, and what are you most excited about seeing potentially happening as you start your sort of legal journey? 

[0:28:18.8] Sophie Warren: Yeah. I think, one of the main changes as I’ve probably already mentioned is sort of the perception of a traditional lawyer is changing. You know, clients are looking for innovative young lawyers that can offer more than just legal advice. And I think we’re going to see law firms that aren’t just recruiting lawyers, they’ll be recruiting sort of legal project managers, legal analysts. You know, there’ll be so many different types of legal personnel because the client will want actual specific people.

And I think that’s something again, that probably older partners are going to have to recognize that this traditional lawyer will not be joining because it’s not what a client needs anymore. So, I think that’s something really exciting, you know, probably not for people my age but sort of eighteen-year old’s who are thinking of going into law.

And so, in sort of five years’ time that would be something they have to consider whether they want to be like a project manager or an analyst. And I think, I mean obviously technology is a big one, sort or you know, is it going to be brought in, is it not, are the law firms already embracing it? So, that’s something exciting as well.

You never know, you might have to just sit behind your desk and click your fingers and something might happen. So, I think yeah, there is a lot changing in the legal profession, and it’s a very exciting time. Hopefully, I won’t be replaced by a robot, I don’t think that’s going to happen just yet? 

[0:29:43.9] Rob Hanna: No. I think there is definitely going to be legal tech. it’s just a – I think it’s adapting with the tech isn’t it?

[0:29:48.5] Sophie Warren: Exactly. 

[0:29:48.7] Rob Hanna: And sort of modifying the roles and that’s where, you know, a lot of sort of, you know, junior legal work will just be sort of diversified. There’s probably a different way to describe it most definitely. Okay, and sort of for you, 2020 you got the marathon coming up, is there any sort of big goals or by you get the end of the year you want to achieve X or anything you are kind of gunning for? 

[0:30:09.3] Sophie Warren: I want that training contract. That is probably my main goal for 2020. You know, to just channel my whole – entire energy into getting where I want to be because I want to be a solicitor at the end of the day, and you know, you won’t be a solicitor without a training contract. Focusing on my career is probably my number one priority for 2020. But also, one of my new year’s resolution as well was to be more bold and just ask, because if you don’t ask you don’t get. So, and I think with that in mind, hopefully that at least the training contract should arrive.

[0:30:46.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah. No, I agree. And I think, from behalf of all of us on Legally Speaking, I think it’s really great that we have people like you on who’re doing such inspirational things for legal professional. A, you’re still continuing on that journey, not giving up. B, you’re actually doing great, things for great charities, you’re massively networking.

You’re a great example of sort of the rising star for the legal professional it’s going to be, I have no doubt. So, from all of us we hope it happens, and keep it documented on your journey. And thanks for also sort of sharing lots of tips and insights to all the people. I hope you inspired others there, particular in this sort of years of sort of mindfulness and wellness that you can if you can balance the work life balance, so get out there and be a bit more active as well, right?

[0:31:23.3] Sophie Warren: Yeah, definitely. 

[0:31:24.3] Rob Hanna: Perfect. Well, thank you so much Sophie, it’s been an absolute pleasure. 

[0:31:27.2] Sophie Warren: No. thank you. 

[0:31:27.6] Rob Hanna: And wishing you all the best. 

[0:31:28.6] Sophie Warren: Thank you very much.

[Audio Ends] [0:31:30.3]

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