Getting to know our trainees – Sayna Patel

We talk to trainee solicitor, Sayna Patel on International Women’s day.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live at home in South Oxfordshire with my mum. She is my biggest supporter, inspiration and hero (even though I don’t tell her enough). I am a British Indian national and I was born and raised in Oxford. My roots lie in Gujarat, India and if you haven’t been to India then you really haven’t lived – it is the most beautiful place in the world!

I come from a household of women, my mum and two older sisters. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 2-years old and have since been surrounded by strong, resilient and fierce women who have made me the woman I am today. I have a very involved wider family who all helped to raise and guide me and my sisters through the challenges of life.

I had the most creative, fun and loving childhood. Although being raised in a single-parent household, my mum never let us feel the loss of my dad growing up.

Why did you decide to train to be a lawyer?

I have always wanted to pursue a career in Law, and from the age of about 12 I wanted to become a lawyer (cliche… I know, but the truth).

Sayna's Family

What sort of law are you most interested in and why?

I am currently most interested in Family Law, this is due to the unpredictability and variety of work that comes with being a Family lawyer. There is something hugely fulfilling about being the biggest support system to clients when they are going through the worst times of their lives. Guiding clients with empathy and understanding, contributes to positive outcomes in each individual case.

Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

When I was 16 years old, I undertook some work experience with a Family Law District Judge (at the time) in Slough. I started that week as shy and introverted, feeling nervous and overwhelmed with the thought of sitting in Court with a Judge. I ended that week a different person and was enlightened with all that I had witnessed, this reinforced my passion for the Law and in particular Family Law.

Describe some of the challenges you have faced. How did you overcome them?

Coming from an ethnic minority background, it wasn’t always easy to find someone who represented me, my culture and my heritage. In the years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve seen this progress and love the fact that one day I could be that role model for young, Asian women.

In terms of successes, which accomplishments are you most proud of?

I have always struggled with the English language and in particular reading, it was no surprise that I found studying my Law degree very difficult with the countless amount of reading materials you have. After completing my Masters in Law, I found out that I am dyslexic and have a serious reading deficiency. Learning this made it easy to understand why I struggled throughout my education and was proof to me that anyone can do anything if they set their mind to it.

What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just started their career?

NEVER GIVE UP. People often get put off with the time, effort and studying that goes into a career in Law, not to mention the countless rejections and constant feeling of imposter syndrome. Remember that with every cloud comes a silver lining and there will be challenges in every aspect of your life. The time is going to pass anyway and so you might as well be building your dream career, than wishing that you did earlier. Trust the process.

Sayna in park

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know or tell us something about you that is unique or different.

I have a life-saving gold award in swimming, so if anyone is drowning near me – you’re in the right hands.