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Marie Walsh – Leading from the front at Consilia Legal

I grew up and went to school in Morley in Leeds.  I have always wanted to be a lawyer and after being sent on a work placement to Leeds Crown Court during my GCSE’s the decision was made.  From there with a lot of family support I was lucky enough to attend Nottingham Trent University and the College of Law and I’ve been qualified now for 15 years as a solicitor.  During my career I have also been a lecturer on the Legal Practice Course and the Graduate Diploma and I continue to act as a visiting lecturer now alongside private practice.  My area of expertise and importantly my passion is employment law.

Work is one of the most important areas in many people’s lives.

I love helping companies get it right for their employees and similarly I enjoy taking companies who don’t get it right to task.  I have always had an overriding sense of fairness and this area of the law suits my mindset.

I was employed in a number of firms as a solicitor before working for myself.  To be honest I don’t think I was very good with authority and I always felt frustrated.

I started Consilia Legal with some like-minded ladies in 2014 and in September this year we will have an all-female law practice, with 3 directors and 3 employees.   The all-female part isn’t by design but works well. Alongside employment we specialise in family issues and we also provide mediation services in both areas.  We are a people focussed business.

The idea to start our own law firm came just before my 40th birthday and as my youngest child was about to start school.  I had worked part
time after having both children and retained an independent client following. I had always wanted to have more control over my working life.

I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to have my own business and flexibility with my family?’ I’m also quite ambitious and I like being in control.  When you work for someone else you don’t have that do you?

After a lot of soul searching we decided to take the leap and start Consilia.  It’s been a fantastic decision and is extremely hard work but the rewards of working for myself and being able to accommodate my family at the same time has made it worthwhile.  It’s also brilliant to be part of a team who all want the same thing.   The support from family and friends has been overwhelming. It’s very much appreciated.

What makes you brave?

If you want to lead people in your business you have to brave, you have to lead from the front and show them how it’s done. I wouldn’t dream of asking someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

I take a lot of inspiration from my mum. She rarely says no to an opportunity and is a very sociable person.  I think I am the product of a pushy mother 🙂

I’ve found that the most nerve racking things in life are the most rewarding, so it pays to be brave.  That’s what I tell my children anyway.