Soha Ahmed is a freelance paralegal through Pinsent Masons Vario whose assignment within the Aberdeen offices of Pinsent Masons has enabled her to get her foot in the door at the Legal Business Awards 2021 Law Firm of the Year.
While at school, Soha admits she had no idea what she wanted do. Luckily, inspiration struck just at the right time. She reflected on her love of healthy debates and English-based subjects and decided to pursue law just before the university applications deadline.
Soha’s first experience in the legal industry was an internship at a prestigious law office in Pakistan. She had the opportunity to work on matters under an array of jurisdictions, including English law, Pakistani law, and Indian law. Soha says, “It was a great initial eye opener into how lawyers work in practice.”
"If I had any advice to offer someone considering freelancing in the legal industry, I’d tell them to just do it! "
The competition for official legal work placement roles in the UK amongst legal professionals at the start of their career is notoriously fierce. Soha was struggling to secure that first step on the legal career ladder. For Soha, Vario has opened the door and helped her with this common barrier.
Working freelance has allowed Soha to maintain balance in her life, her career and her studies. Through her work as a freelance paralegal, she has been able to gain experience working within an international law firm without having to make sacrifices when it comes to her university life and her work towards becoming a solicitor.
Although there are some misconceptions that freelance work can be lonely, Soha’s experience dispels this myth: “I had a great time in the Aberdeen office. Everyone was so welcoming and lovely! I felt right at home and comfortable to get stuck in with my assignment”. Soha found her assignment to be relatively straight-forward. She still finds it extremely satisfying to look back and reflect on how the work she’d undertaken had made changes to the office. Speaking on her experiences, she says, “I’ve learnt that I’m good at adapting to new and potentially uncomfortable situations. Especially due to the pandemic, we’ve all had to learn to think on our feet and offer new solutions to situations.”
Freelancing within the legal industry wasn’t something that Soha had heard of before, and although she held few preconceptions, she thought it would have more of a temporary feel to it, and that her role would be to assist on matters that required extra bodies. Conversely, Soha’s experience was much more akin to that of a permanent employee; she received a full induction to the firm, provided with necessary IT equipment and was made to feel part of the internal Pinsent Masons team.
Outside of work, Soha likes to relax by spending time with her friends and family. She also enjoys going to the gym and pampering herself with a bit of shopping!
“If I had any advice to offer someone considering freelancing in the legal industry, I’d tell them to just do it! It’s a great opportunity and you never know what you could learn, or what opportunities could arise mid-assignment. For me, I’m excited to continue on my career path and see where it takes me! I can’t wait to see what doors of opportunity will open for me next.”