I am a trainee solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills where I have sat in the disputes, project finance and corporate energy practices.
A week before starting the final stages of my legal training, the Legal Practice Course, I was diagnosed with relatively severe dyslexia. I got assessed on the recommendation of a friend and although getting this diagnosis as an adult was a surprise, it also made sense when I remembered how hard I felt I was working to get to the same place as everyone else through university.
My job requires resilience and a strong work ethic and I have learnt these skills by putting in the extra work required to manage my dyslexia.
Whether dyslexic or not, everyone makes small mistakes but because I know that I won’t catch things on a first read, I don’t leave things up to chance and I always put in the extra time to check things over. I am always up for trialling new software and finding unconventional but useful ways of doing things using technology.
It’s no wonder that people with dyslexia are known for being out of the box thinkers – if you are constantly navigating around conventional solutions which don’t quite work for you, your mind becomes very open to always considering unusual but potentially better alternatives. This lateral thinking has served me well throughout my training contract.
I was reluctant to get tested for so long because I was afraid it might make people see me as sloppy or careless. After my diagnosis, however, the extra support I got finally made it possible to get the results I was aiming for at exams and in work without the additional anguish. I would therefore recommend others to be more open – you have a lot to be proud of for making it this far and you will gain a lot from the extra support.