“From newly qualified solicitor to law firm partner in 4 years – I had to work hard to achieve it but I also really appreciate the THP Solicitors partners for spotting my potential and encouraging me to achieve my goals”
CAREER PROFILE – FRANCES WATTS
Partner & Head of Commercial Property
Tel: 0118 920 9499
HOW DID YOUR LEGAL CAREER BEGIN?
In 2003, I got a summer receptionist job at THP Solicitors before I went off to university. I got involved in a wide range of matters, including opening up the new Henley office and I really felt part of the team.
My experience at THP Solicitors made me reflect on my future and as a result I changed my degree discipline from history to law. Whilst I was at university, and doing my LPC, I continued to work for THP in the term holidays and the Partners asked me if I would be interested in applying to become a trainee.
WHAT WAS TRAINING AT THP SOLICITORS LIKE?
The training at THP was great. The Partners were keen for me to work with a variety of people across the firm, and client types, so I could experience different management styles and legal disciplines. The Partners also encouraged me to develop my ‘soft skills’ such as business development and that gave me a confidence early on that I have found invaluable during my career.
Unlike some of my friends at university who had gone to work at big London law firms, I was given early exposure to working with clients and I felt that was important for my professional growth.
I had developed a love of unregistered land whilst doing my law degree and did my dissertation on adverse possession. When I completed my training and qualified in 2010 I went to work in the commercial property department. Four years later I became a Partner, just before I turned 30.
From newly qualified solicitor to law firm partner in 4 years is quite a ride – I had to work hard to achieve it but I also really appreciate the THP Solicitors Partners for spotting my potential and encouraging me to achieve my goals.
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR WORK
I like the variety. I do a broad range of work from funding, lease, sale, purchase, receivership – the list is endless. Over the years I have developed really strong relationships with my clients, helping them create risk strategies and achieve commerciality, and together we have worked on some really exciting projects.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CULTURE AT THP?
A team first and foremost. There is a lot of reliance, trust and support between us, both within my department and across the departments. We talk through our work, brainstorming ideas, and value each other’s perspectives. I like that feeling of being part of something.
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN THE LAW?
Two things. One, don’t rule out any route into the law – all qualified legal professionals are valued. And two, once you have decided what you want to focus on, immerse yourself in it fully – the more committed you are the more rewarding you’ll find it.