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Q&A with Kristin Sharp

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Kristin Sharp, Legal Executive @ GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates

How could you describe your career path in few words?

My career path started with an impulsive decision to apply for a business administrator apprenticeship at a local law firm. I had recently left school, completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life but knew I sought a challenge. Having started on reception, I worked toward becoming a legal secretary. I was hell bent on being the best possible support I could be, striving to learn anything I could and absorbing all the ways in which those I worked for carried out their duties. I was fortunate to witness talented, hardworking lawyers work on complex cases and fight for their clients. This drove me to start my journey into becoming a lawyer. I had a staggered start, but this allowed me to gain valuable insight into not only how to run cases but also how to support those who do. I have been lucky to have individuals around me who provide encouragement, but also challenge me where necessary. This has pushed me to accomplish the things I never felt capable of doing.

I think it is important to remember that every day can present with a new learning curve. Being receptive to advice and seeking it where necessary will only strengthen your ability to achieve your end goal.

What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset?

My lack of self-confidence has and continues to be my biggest weakness. Having pursued my career in a somewhat unconventional way, this has always factored into the illusive ‘Imposter Syndrome’ I think many suffer with. I can frequently feel as though I don’t belong where I am or that I have not worked hard enough to achieve what I have. I have had points in my career where I have not felt good enough to complete certain stages and have taken the easy route of simply saying “I’m not ready” through fear of making a mistake that could impact my client. I was very lucky to have a mentor who confidently believed I was ready and cleverly guided me into situations that led to me having no choice but to undertake the daunting meetings or decisions that I was trying to avoid. It was the push I needed and it led to me realising that I am capable and I am good enough.

I think it is easy for anyone to feel like a fraud in a career that carries so much pressure and responsibility. I strive every day to remember that my own hard work, determination and passion for my job is what leads me to do the best job I can for those who instruct me. Once the fog clears, you realise that you are equal to those around you undertaking the same role, irrespective of how you attained your title.

When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?

I find being surprised is part and parcel of working in family law. Rarely is anything straight forward or predictable. Whilst there is a usual process and timeline expected in Children Act matters, there are many occasions when curveballs are thrown and thinking outside the box is necessary. Whilst this can result in stress and uncertainty, I think it helps keep things interesting and strengthens knowledge. Not everything will go to plan nor will you always have a positive outcome, but the unforeseen is a way to learn and improve. I enjoy family law because more often than not, each case is different and unexpected. It is not mundane and it enables you to work with those who need support more than most to keep their families together, even if it does sometimes mean waking up to information you were not expecting and then managing the fall out!

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