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CASE STUDY – Laura MacDonald

11 April 2023 | Category

Laura Macdonald nplaw
Joined nplaw in January 2016
Solicitor – Child Protection Team

Tell us about your career journey

I have worked in both private practice and in public sector organisations. Before qualifying as a solicitor, I worked as a paralegal in a large private practice firm. I have also worked in administrative roles within the Crown Prosecution Service and the local police force. I joined nplaw as a trainee solicitor and worked in the property and planning teams, public law and standards team and qualified into the Child Protection team in 2018.

Why did you choose to work at nplaw?

The training contract offered really encapsulated a wide breadth of practice areas that you are not exposed to in other firms. I really got to experience such a huge range of work as trainee from drafting commercial procurement contracts to advising schools in relation to education law. Having worked in the public sector previously, I wanted to return in a legal capacity and nplaw provided a great opportunity to do so. Ultimately, I found my place in the Child Protection team where the work is challenging, fast-paced and rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Building relationships with, and working closely alongside, our social worker clients. They are extremely hard-working and dedicated to safeguarding the children and young people of Norfolk and working together with them collaboratively to achieve this goal is something that I enjoy. We also have a strong team ethos in the Child Protection team, and I feel consistently supported by my colleagues.

What is your proudest achievement at work?

Every case I have worked on that achieves the best possible outcomes for children and young people by securing safe and permanent long-term plans for them.

Are there any interesting projects/matters that you are working on at the moment?

Within the child protection team, there is plenty of variety in the work above and beyond care proceedings. For example, dealing with cross jurisdictional issues post-Brexit and moving away from the use of Brussels II convention for cross-border issues to the Hague convention, the launch of a National DoLs (Deprivation of Liberty) court based at the Royal Courts of Justice in July 2022 and advising clients in relation to Forced Marriage Protection Orders, FGM, and unaccompanied minor age assessments.

What is the work/life balance and the wider culture like?

Whilst the work is challenging and demanding, working within nplaw gives you the opportunity to manage your own workload in a flexible way. There is a mixture of remote and office working, and you are able to attend personal appointments if needed. You are responsible for curating your working week. The wider culture of nplaw is great, there are plenty of opportunities to liaise with people across the teams and lots of cross team working.

What do you do out of work and what is your proudest achievement out of work?

Since the pandemic, my focus has been on spending quality time with my family and friends, including my fiancé and my dog Bruno. We love hiking and one of my favourite places to go is the Highlands in Scotland, where my Grandad was from. I have ‘bagged a Munro’ or two over the years, including Ben Nevis, my favourite being Liathach in the Torridon Hills which offers a more challenging hike and some incredible views – subject to the weather!

What do you think are nplaw’s main selling points to attract new employees?

Nplaw really does offer legal professionals the opportunity to develop skills in a wide range of subject matters. The work is meaningful and relevant to the public at large. The working culture gives you the chance to manage your workload in a way that works for you and your lifestyle and offers flexibility not often achieved in other firms.