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From courts and bail to the Mirror and Mail: Switching from law to PR

Sitting in a beige county court waiting room, desperately trying to digest my notes while the clackety air conditioning added to the nervous silence, there was nothing quite like the wait before presenting a case to a Judge whose favourite pastime was grilling newly qualified lawyers. My six years as a legal eagle has left me with a treasure trove of anecdotes but after making what looks initially like a 180 degree switch to PR two years ago, I haven’t looked back.

Having always been passionate about debate (much to the annoyance of my siblings), it came as no surprise to my friends and family when I announced I wanted to attend law school. But after six years of drafting witness statements, attending the police station in the dead of night and getting thoroughly dressed down by circuit judges, I felt something was missing. I would always enquire enviously with my close friends who worked in PR about their dynamic working style and late-night press events…where did you go? Who did you meet? She said what?!? There was something about PR that really appealed to me and I knew I could fit right into an industry which actively encouraged creativity. After much soul searching, I came to realise it was a move I needed to make. Although I had come to love the grittiness of police station custody coffee and withering responses from the judiciary, for the first time in my career, I felt certain about where I wanted to be.

I did my research and knew I wanted to work at an independent and creative agency, this is when I came across Tin Man. I liked their style and being a friend of Dorothy myself, I mustered all of my creativity and drafted such an ‘off-the-wall’ covering letter that I would either be reported to the authorities or warmly invited into the agency under a guard of honour, flanked by hysterical screaming youths à la Beatlemania; fortunately it was the latter (minus the guard and adolescent adulation).

At first it appeared like there were lots of differences between law and PR. But, scratch beneath the surface, and the same document drafting, negotiation and time management run between both industries. Tin Man instantly gave me the responsibility which I loved, and, in the blink of an eye, I was drafting third party contracts and expert briefs. My time spent making representations in court also came in handy when drawn into public speaking with client evaluations and new client pitches.

Now having been with Tin Man for two years, rising from an intern to SAE, I can take stock of how much I have grown as a person and professionally. I’ve learned to work at greater speed and fine-tuned my creative writing while still retaining my turn of phrase and eye for detail. One of the brilliant things about PR is that no day is ever the same. I feel constantly tested but at the same time comfortable I will be able to find a solution to whatever jumps out of Pandora’s Box. The campaigns I have worked on (my current favourites being creating a children’s bedtime book for jobsite Indeed or spending a day filming dogs on a train for East Midlands Trains) have gone on to be award-winning because of the difference they’ve made to our client’s bottom lines. And I get to work with some truly wonderful and talented people. Above all of this, I think the culture in PR and at Tin Man has meant I feel more liberated in myself; although I must admit that I may have taken self-expression a tad too literally when I went through bleached blonde and silver hair phases which wouldn’t have gone down well with the county judge.