“After finishing the law conversion, I was working in hospitality and wanted to use my customer service skills in an office environment,” Olivia explains. “My sister, Jemima, was already working at CooperBurnett and told me what a lovely place it was to work, so I applied for the role.”
Olivia’s first degree was in food and professional cookery but, although she loved the course, she realised that she didn’t want to make it her career. As part of her degree, Olivia worked as a pastry chef in the Savoy Grill for a year, one of Gordon Ramsay’s stable of restaurants.
“The hours were long and the kitchen could get really hot, which wasn’t ideal for pastry,” she recalls. “One particularly hot day, I was standing by the door of the restaurant spooning on ice cream at the last possible moment, as it was melting. While at school, I always dreamt of a career in law and particularly enjoyed my philosophy and ethics classes, as I liked debating what was right and what was wrong.”
During a recent appraisal at CooperBurnett, Olivia mentioned that she’d be interested in eventually moving from reception into a role within one of the legal teams.
“CooperBurnett is really supportive of team members who want to grow their careers here, so I felt I could talk about moving into a legal role,” says Olivia. “The firm is great for getting to know the whole team. It encourages you to make your mark and be noticed.”
She adds: “Family law really interested me, but also litigation. I really want to be in a role where I am helping people who are in trouble in some way.”
Olivia is currently also studying for her LPC (Legal Practice Course), which sees her travelling to London two evenings a week to attend the University of Law in Bloomsbury, as well as fitting in studying in her spare time.
“It means that those are very long days for me, but it is definitely worth it,” she says. “Now I’m working in my new role within the litigation team, it’s really interesting to see how what we are learning about in the classroom works in practice.”
Olivia is working with insolvency and employment partner Joseph Oates, as well as partner John Spence, who is a property litigation specialist.
“I’ve already been given the responsibility of cases to deal with and John has been showing me how to process them initially, with the goal of seeing them through to the finish,” she explains.
Having been given glowing reports from her sister about CooperBurnett as somewhere to work, Olivia says: “Everyone here really is lovely and I think clients recognise that too. What I have seen – particularly from working on reception – is that clients trust us and come back to CooperBurnett time and time again, sometimes for advice on something completely different from before but feeling confident that they will be given good service.”
When she’s not at work or studying, which is taking up a large part of her time at the moment and will do for the next couple of years, Olivia enjoys walking her dog, seeing live music and using her cookery skills whenever she can.