Why I Joined Stephenson Law: Michelle Correia
It’s tough starting your own business. I knew that when I started mine but, having a been a contractor and consultant solicitor for a while, I was already halfway there so it seemed the logical next step.
With a background largely in commercial, in-house teams, my plan was to get a small number of retained clients to use me for day-to-day legal support at a fraction of the cost of the big law firms and with the added benefit of me really getting to know the businesses and people. What I hadn’t factored in was that to get my initial clients I would need to do a lot of schmoozing―something I had spent my entire career avoiding.
I’d never liked private practice for exactly that reason―the targets and forced networking. Turns out I hated it even more when my income depended on it. While I love learning about people and the amazing things they’re doing, when it came to my turn, I found myself avoiding mentioning I was a solicitor because it was such a conversation stopper.
Then, on Boxing Day last year, an article popped into my news feed about Alice Stephenson, the young mum made good (she hated that article by the way) who, despite being told she’d never make it after having a child at 18, had set up her own thriving law firm. It was impressive and I wondered how she’d done it.
Two weeks later, by complete chance, she sent me a connection request on LinkedIn. I accepted and messaged to congratulate her on what she was doing and said it would be great to meet. The reply immediately came back: “How about Tuesday?”
At the meeting it became clear just how much we had in common, particularly in how we wanted to deliver legal services. Alice’s energy was remarkable and I had no doubt she would achieve everything she was aiming for. She asked me during that first meeting to join her. It was a lot to think about. I had no intention of leaving my business, but there was a sense of inevitability that we would one day work together.
Still, I wasn’t 100%. And, having chatted it through back home, I got ready for our next meeting with my “thanks, but I need to give my thing a go first” speech lined up. Of course, after ten minutes of small talk, I’d completely changed my mind. I realised how much I enjoyed being around someone with the same ideas as me. Doing it on my own suddenly felt like a really lonely prospect and I found myself keen to be part of this team she spoke so highly of.
Alice wasn’t exaggerating. The team is amazing. In the small time I’ve been here we’ve doubled in size and moved into offices that are way cooler than I am. We work in our jeans listening to each others’ playlists. We have a flamingo in every corner and smoothies in the kitchen. It’s more than a team, it’s a work family. I miss them at the weekends and look forward to coming in.
I’ve never worked so hard, nor enjoyed a job so much. Honestly, this is the best career decision I’ve ever made. I couldn’t be happier.