Getting to know our trainees – Yasmine Plummer

We talk to trainee solicitor, Yasmine Plummer on International Women’s day.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in a little flat in Reading. I spend most of my time at the gym, cooking or reading when I am not working. Otherwise you’ll find me doing wholesome activities with my friends such as puppy yoga or visiting markets. I grew up in a tiny town in Surrey, called Caterham, where everyone knew each other. My mum is French of Algerian descent and my dad is British. Our family is made up of my parents, my older sister and a little Chihuahua called Franklin. As far as what I wanted to be when I grew up, I spent the majority of my time in the South of France with my family, so at that point, I probably wanted to be a kid forever! I’m pretty sure I changed my mind often, one week an astronaut and the next superwomen! I’m glad neither of those worked out.

Why did you decide to train to be a lawyer?

I had decided to train as a lawyer from quite a young age, thinking it would be a glamorous life of meeting clients at luxury bars and restaurants. Suits has it very wrong. The first time I studied Law was during my A-Levels, thinking it could be something I pursue but I wasn’t sure how good I would be at it. Turns out not so bad… So it was no surprise to my family when I decided to go to university to get my Bachelor’s and then Master’s in Law.

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

Life often takes us on unexpected paths and you may realise that your ‘favourite’ area of law isn’t quite what you thought it would be, which thankfully happened to me! I had always thought I would qualify into criminal law, but it wasn’t until I studied family law in my final year at university that I realised that I felt like things clicked and it was something I naturally understood. Having completed my seat in Family Law, I love that every task that comes across my desk is different to the last and no two days are exactly the same. One day I could be advising a client in relation to finances and the next in Court supporting a client throughout their children proceedings. I’ve always had the desire to help people and a role in family law means that I can support clients through a pivotal and often challenging time. I see the role of a Family Lawyer as being the person who can take the emotion out of an issue and find a solution, which can be challenging following a separation. I believe the key skills are to be understanding and empathetic, whilst remaining logic and solution focused.

Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

Myself. I didn’t have anyone to lean on in the legal industry and I fought tooth and nail to get to wherever it was that I needed to be. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not believed in myself.

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

Throughout my time at university, I really suffered from imposter syndrome. I genuinely believed that I was passing exams on a fluke, not because I deserved to. Unfortunately, this is still something that I grapple with, but not to the extent that I once did. One of the main things that helps settle my imposter syndrome is reflecting on where I am and what I have done to get there. Reflection also allows me to see how much I have grown as an individual and as a lawyer. It’s often very common for women to feel uneasy about taking up space in a male dominated field, but we deserve to take up space, and create a better environment for the women following in our footsteps.

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

I was a first generation university student and I’m a first generation lawyer. Navigating the legal industry without a helping hand is quite challenging, which is why I throw myself into networking and social mobility events! I think the legal industry is slowly making the right moves to see lawyers for who they are and what they do, not where they came from. I’m so very proud that I stuck with my gut in believing that Law was something I wanted to study, despite the countless tears and exam stress.

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

Be resilient. It is easy to let one ‘no’ throw you off of your path, but what if that one ‘no’ was the last one before the ‘yes’. My favourite quote is “If you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t have the opportunity, and if you weren’t capable, you wouldn’t have the desire.” Keep that resilience and turn it into motivation and as our director Nicola will testify, my resilience and persistence is what got my foot through the door at Hedges Law.

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

I grew up speaking French and English. My parents did the one parent one language method, which means I am bilingual. It also meant that my sister and I adopted a language we call ‘Frenglish’ where we drop in and out of both languages in the same sentence. I’m forever grateful that I can speak fluently in both languages and hopefully the one parent one language will be a method I can adopt later on in life. My mum still lives in the South of France so I go out there as often as I can to see her and fill up on her cooking!