Hannah Carr talks to Sandy Fitzgerald about how she became a solicitor and her involvement with the charity Headway Salisbury & South West.
ILS Marketing & Business Development Manager, Sandy Fitzgerald, spoke recently to Hannah Carr - Senior Associate at Novum Law and Trustee of Headway Salisbury & South West about her unconventional career journey from wanting to be a vet to becoming a lawyer! Hannah is also very involved with the charity Headway Salisbury & South Wiltshire.
In the interview Hannah talks about her changing career aspirations and her unusual path into the legal profession. Naturally excelling at Science at school and receiving an A* at GCSE, Hannah followed the advice of her teachers to pursue all three science subjects at A-level which supported her ambition to be a vet. However, the path was not as smooth as she had hoped, despite all her hard work.
At a crossroads, Hannah weighed her options and decided to explore the degree subjects available through clearing. With an interest in the legal and psychological aspects of the law (mainly from watching crime dramas!), Hannah’s love of the coast lead to her spotting a course on Criminal Justice with Social Policy at Plymouth University.
With a career with the police force becoming a strong possibility, she successfully completed the 3-year course. But once on the Wiltshire Police Fast Track Graduate Scheme preliminary trial, which lasted a week and provided hands-on experience, Hannah soon realised that becoming a police officer was not for her.
Securing a role at a local law firm for a Junior Secretary position, she was asked if she had thought about a career in the legal sector. Unsure, but with her employer clearly spotting her potential and giving her additional tasks that would not normally be given to a junior admin, the tactic worked, and Hannah interest was piqued.
Discovering that she could undertake a part-time study contract whereby her non law degree could be converted into a law degree with a Common Professional Exam and after 5 long years of hard graft, Hannah was on her way.
Following her qualification, Hannah turned her attention to a specialisation and wanted to focus on personal injury and clinical negligence and after 17 years with the same high street practice, decided to move to a specialist practice. Finding the holistic approach of Novum Law very appealing, Hannah was thrilled to take up a position here.
Hannah’s clients are her driving force and she strives to provide the right support and signposting in order to improve their quality of life. Through this work, Hannah became aware of the Headway charity, which supports people living with brain injury. Wanting to give something back, Hannah made contact with the regional arm of the charity – Headway Salisbury & South West to see how she could help and following a meeting she was invited to become a Trustee and says she hasn’t looked back since.
Hannah speaks passionately about the work of the charity – explaining the wealth of support that is provided at the initial signposting stage into the charity. She outlines the variety of groups providing different levels of support with an individual’s rehabilitation or return to work, or simply to provide peer support. These include a Headsmart Group, Peer Support Group, Young Adults Group, and a Walking Tennis Group to help with mobility and socialising.
Hannah explains that despite the challenges that COVID has presented, the charity has made great efforts to keep in touch with those that have been accessing the charity’s support by telephoning or even postal correspondence for those that are lacking the technology for more immediate means of contact. They are keen to avoid any isolation issues, Hannah continues, so this contact and support is very important for those individuals living with brain injuries and those supporting them.
Often referred to as an invisible injury because the effects of a brain injury may not always be immediately apparent, the charity also seeks to raise awareness and educate the wider community. Although Headway is a national charity, as an affiliate Headway Salisbury & South West operates as a separate company and is entirely reliant on their own fundraising endeavours. However, the presence of a local group is invaluable to those that access it, providing signposting to a host of services as well as fostering a supportive community.
Watch the full interview here: