We sat down with Natasha Leo, a future lawyer currently sitting in Browne Jacobson’s clinical negligence defence team, to talk about her experience since joining the firm in September 2022 and making the switch from Clinical Scientist to lawyer.
Before joining Browne Jacobson and training as a lawyer, Natasha worked as a Clinical Scientist specialising in genetics. Working for the NHS in a lab, Natasha focused on diagnostics, analysing DNA and data – a departure from the traditional route into law of many trainees! “In my NHS role, I had a hand in a lot of the legislative side of things, and this set me on the path I’ve taken to the legal profession,” Natasha explains.
“I wanted to work with a firm that actively looks for ways to make positive change in society and Browne Jacobson is evidently trying to achieve this with the clients it works with and the community engagements it gets involved in.”
Natasha was responsible for compliance matters in the lab, which helped to spark an interest in working in the law: “tasks like making sure the processes in the lab and the department conformed to healthcare guidelines and dealing with questions of confidentiality and consent to testing, particularly relating to the DNA and Human Tissue Act, drove my interest in the law and particularly medical ethics.”
After several years working in the NHS in the north-west, Natasha was motivated to find ways to contribute to improving the healthcare system. “One of my main aims in becoming a lawyer is to empower myself, and gain the skills, knowledge, ability and authority to support healthcare providers in implementing improvement projects and streamlining practices to create more consistency nationally between NHS trusts. Already in my time as a trainee I’ve seen ways in which this can be achieved with the help of the legal profession,” she comments.
This desire is what brought Natasha to Browne Jacobson, due to its reputation as a leading healthcare legal provider and its work with NHS Resolution and NHS trusts around the country. “I was previously aware of a Browne Jacobson-led initiative called Shared Insights, which brought representatives from different trusts together to share ideas for improving the healthcare system. I’ve been fortunate as a trainee to attend these sessions and see the positive impact.”
Encouraging the sharing of learnings, insights, and ideas for how things can be improved across the NHS is vital and it was exciting to see the role Browne Jacobson plays in encouraging and enabling this knowledge transfer. “This made me realise that this is a firm that really understands what society needs.”
On starting her training in September, Natasha expressed a preference for a seat within the healthcare team, which was granted as her first seat rotation. Natasha has now been training at Browne Jacobson for four and a half months.
Her work with the clinical negligence defence team is very litigation-heavy, driven by case protocol and timelines. She is working on tasks including instructing counsel to draft defences for clients, identifying medical experts and writing letters of instruction to them, and drafting court applications. “I’m really enjoying the constant contact with clients and insurers and I’m very excited about the possibilities of working with NHS trusts.” She is also hoping to work in areas like real estate and commercial law during her training. “As a geneticist, I’m an advocate for implementing biotech engineering and its advances, and in future I would be very interested to work with the firm’s Commercial Health team, bringing to market new biotech products and health tech applications.”
The legal sector has a reputation for being a demanding environment to work in, but after her time working in the NHS, Natasha has been struck by some contrasts. “The NHS is not the easiest place to work – there are challenges with teams being incredibly overworked, especially so in the aftermath of the pandemic, and motivation levels can be very low,” she explains. “At Browne Jacobson, the work environment is very positive and collaborative and there is a lot of support from the whole team, especially for new starters.” There is a very active social programme for trainees, as well as away-days for all teams which allow colleagues to connect with each other outside of the office. “We are all committed to working for the firm because we know the firm is committed to supporting us.”
As Natasha learned more about the firm during the application process, she was particularly inspired by its values and commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives. “I started my application around the time of the Black Lives Matter movement. A lot of firms were re-evaluating their diversity and inclusion statements but what I wanted to see was real action, and it was clear that Browne Jacobson truly wanted to address these issues of diversity and inclusion with their client base, employees and in the wider community,” she said. “I wanted to work with a firm that actively looks for ways to make positive changes in society and Browne Jacobson is evidently trying to achieve this with the clients it works with and the community engagements it gets involved in.”
Reflecting on making the jump from working in science and healthcare to the law, Natasha would encourage others to follow in her footsteps. “Do your research and remember that the breadth of experience and knowledge you bring from previous employers can be an asset for a career in law,” she advises. "Browne Jacobson really recognised the advantages of my scientific background for its work with clients when they chose to hire me and has really supported me in making the transition.”
Recent changes to the legal qualification route and the introduction of SQE are designed to encourage greater numbers of law firm trainees from diverse professional backgrounds. “If you are not an applicant with a traditional law school background do not let this be a barrier – embrace it!” encourages Natasha.
UK and Ireland law firm Browne Jacobson has won the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the 23rd Franco-British Business Awards 2022.
Browne Jacobson has partnered with Forage, one of the world’s leading work experience platforms, to launch an interactive virtual work experience programme to open up access for aspiring young lawyers and improve diversity in the legal profession.
Holly Quirk, an associate barrister in Browne Jacobson’s Manchester office, was awarded the Legal Professional of the Year Award at this year’s Manchester Young Talent Awards.
Browne Jacobson has been recognised as one of the UK’s leading law firms with its ranking in The Times “Best Law Firms 2023”. This is the fifth year that Browne Jacobson has been ranked.
Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers are celebrating after two of its deals won major awards at the Insider Midlands Dealmakers Awards 2022.
Law firm Browne Jacobson has confirmed its commitment as a Real Living Wage employer by implementing the Living Wage Foundation’s newly announced rates with immediate effect to help offset the cost of living crisis for low paid workers.
Browne Jacobson has welcomed 10 future lawyers to its trainee scheme for 2022 – 2024 as it continues to grow its business. The new recruits have joined 36 trainees currently at the firm, bringing the total number of trainee solicitors at Browne Jacobson to 46 – a record number for the firm.
Browne Jacobson has bolstered its commercial practice in the UK with the appointment of commercial contracts and international trade specialist, Emma Roake, into its City-based London team.
Browne Jacobson’s private client practice has been ranked as Band One in the 2022 Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide for its work in private wealth law.
Bridget Tatham, a specialist defendant insurance lawyer at Browne Jacobson has been honoured at this year’s Birmingham Black Lawyer (BBL) Excellence Awards, having been named Lawyer of the Year. Bridget was also shortlisted for BBL’s Diversity Champion 2022.
Browne Jacobson has expanded its Manchester professional indemnity practice by recruiting a seven person team led by Jason Nash and supported by partner Michael Appleby. Jason joined Browne Jacobson last month ahead of the other members of the team.
Browne Jacobson has announced its financial results for 2021-22 with revenues up 11 per cent year-on-year to £94m, up from £85m. It marks the 13th consecutive year of growth with a 59 per cent increase in revenues since 2015 (£59m).
Today, (Thursday 16 June) 18 trainee lawyers from Browne Jacobson began the second of three planned “going green” fundraising challenges which focus on driving positive change to the environment and will raise essential funds for the firm’s charity partners.
On Saturday 14th May, 17 Browne Jacobson trainees walked 24 miles around the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales to raise money for our five office charities.
A lawyer and a HR business partner from law firm Browne Jacobson have been announced as winners of the WeAreTheCity’s Rising Stars Awards 2022.
National law firm Browne Jacobson has launched an electric vehicle (EV) scheme as part of its employee benefits package. The benefit will be available to all of the firm’s employees across its five offices, including Birmingham, Exeter, London, Manchester, and Nottingham.
Browne Jacobson’s trainee lawyers are gearing up for the first of three outdoor fundraising challenges that will begin this weekend (Saturday 14 May), with the aim of driving positive change to the environment and raising funds for the firm’s charity partners.
National law firm Browne Jacobson has announced it has promoted 31 lawyers across the business, including six new partners, two legal directors and 23 Senior Associates, a record number for the firm.
Browne Jacobson is celebrating after two of its Nottingham based lawyers won top accolades at the recent Nottinghamshire Law Society Awards.
Browne Jacobson is continuing with its efforts to address fairer access and diversity within the legal profession, with the appointment of six work experience students who are currently part of the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS)
This article is intended to start a discussion on the International Men’s Day UK themes.
Having initially experienced a glimpse of the firm’s inclusivity during a University mentoring BAME scheme, I am pleased to have experienced that Browne Jacobson’s friendly and inclusive culture is the firm’s “beating heart”.
Like most law students, trainees and new starters, it was all virtual for us on the 2021 Browne Jacobson vacation scheme. 2020’s scheme had been cancelled so we were the first virtual cohort, mostly attending from our homes.
From the outset, I was drawn to Browne Jacobson for the variety and quality of work undertaken, the inherently friendly culture and the responsibility handed to trainees at an early stage in their contract.
I’m a vacation schemer at Browne Jacobson – how exciting is it to write that? I’ve been having a fascinating and exciting time seeing everything I’ve learnt in my LLB course put into practice- and quite a lot more besides!
My experience has been hugely positive. Every person I have spoken to, whether a partner, associate, or trainee, has been incredibly welcoming and supportive.
Our 2021 virtual Vacation Scheme is fully underway. Here, our first student Lavania Xavier Rajan gives her impressions of working at Browne Jacobson.
Embracing self-care is our focus for Mental Health Awareness Week this year. As we return to what we have longingly referred to as “normal”, we encourage you to prioritise self-care, connect with nature and talk with someone about any theme related mental health.
During lockdown many of the Browne Jacobson trainees have been finding solace in bingeworthy TV with inspirational LGBTQ+ characters and storylines.
Starting our first seats as a trainee during lockdown has been a bit of a strange experience. As our cohort started our training contracts virtually, some of us have yet to go into the office and most bizarrely, we’ve not yet met face to face as a group.