Ronak Mahdavi Jovainy is currently working in our Knowledge Management and Compliance department as a trainee solicitor. She joined Stewarts in July 2019 and started her training contract in October 2021.
I am a trainee solicitor in my second seat in the Knowledge Management and Compliance department, based in Leeds. I completed my first seat in the Personal Injury department working on high value catastrophic injury cases.
I joined Stewarts straight out of university as a paralegal in the Clinical Negligence department in July 2019 and became a senior paralegal in May 2021, before starting my training contract the following October.
The road to becoming a lawyer
Before joining Stewarts, I studied the MLaw (Exempting) degree at Northumbria University in Newcastle, which combined a traditional LLB law degree with the Legal Practice Course. I graduated with first-class honours and joined Stewarts 10 days after my graduation.
My professional career began at Stewarts. Before joining the firm, I was fortunate enough to gain some practical legal experience by working at Northumbria University’s student law office. We provided pro bono advice to members of the public in a variety of areas. I was part of a civil law ‘firm’ and provided advice on housing law, the General Data Protection Regulation and consumer law.
My interests were primarily in commercial law before joining Stewarts. I had always been interested in commercial matters, which I suspect came from growing up in a family of predominantly business owners. I chose my electives at university to build my knowledge of commercial law before entering the profession.
When I was looking to join Stewarts, there was no position available in the Commercial Litigation department. I took a chance in applying for my paralegal role as I had little experience of injury-related work or clinical negligence. I was intrigued to learn about the circumstances in which someone could bring a clinical negligence claim.
My curiosity in the area is a personal one. When she was 14, my sister was diagnosed with a growth deformation, which resulted in severely decreased circulation to the lower parts of her legs and feet. By the time she was 16, my sister was at severe risk of needing both her legs amputated from above the knee due to the blood clots that had formed in her legs. It was a scary time for the entire family, as you can imagine. We were faced with the prospect of all our lives drastically changing. My sister was fortunate enough to have a brilliant team caring for her, and they found a creative solution that avoided the double amputation.
As well as working with claimants who have suffered brain or spinal cord injuries, I knew that Stewarts had experience with claimants who were amputees, which encouraged me to apply for the role. Clinical negligence was an area that was completely alien to me before joining Stewarts, and the leap of faith I took back in August 2019, thanks to my sister, has definitely paid off.
Diversity and identity
Growing up as a British-Iranian dual national had its challenges. When I was growing up, I always felt as though I had to hide the fact that I was different and tried to make myself ‘less Iranian’ (if that is even possible!).
A simple example of this is when my parents would speak to me in Farsi in front of others, I was too embarrassed to respond to them in Farsi, so I would answer in English. It is bizarre to feel you have to hide your background and parts of yourself just to fit in, but that is the harsh reality for many ethnic minorities like myself growing up in the UK.
Consequently, I took my time to find a working environment where diversity is celebrated, and there is a level of respect where colleagues feel comfortable enough to share their cultural experiences and differences. I found that respect and appreciation for diversity in Stewarts, and I set my sights on building my legal career with Stewarts as a result.
Stewarts is a litigation-only firm, and prior to joining Stewarts, my knowledge of litigation was limited. Within weeks of joining the firm, I knew that litigation was exactly the type of work I wanted to focus on in my career. Litigation is complex and challenging, and we are often faced with back-to-back court deadlines and conferences with counsel that require a lot of preparation. I have found the intensity of court proceedings particularly engaging, and I am excited to experience litigation across other areas during my training contract at Stewarts.
What stood out to me the most when I joined Stewarts was the welcoming and supportive atmosphere. I was instantly made to feel I could ask for help from my colleagues across all levels. Starting a new job can be daunting, and I was lucky enough to join the clinical negligence team, who helped me feel at ease from the outset with a lovely lunch to welcome another paralegal and me to the team. I appreciated the effort made to ensure that we felt comfortable within our new roles.
I was pleased to learn how closely the Leeds and London offices worked together. Within two weeks of joining Stewarts, the Leeds team travelled down to London for a summer party with the rest of the Clinical Negligence department. I felt extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet my colleagues in the London office at such an early stage, particularly in a social setting.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Stewarts over the last three years. I have worked closely with incredibly experienced lawyers, all of whom have been forthcoming with their knowledge, allowing those more junior within the team to grow and develop. I was given the responsibility of drafting legal documents and interacting with clients from day one, allowing me to gain confidence in my ability to carry out my role efficiently from the word go.
Stewarts Career Stories
We encourage our people to strive for excellence in everything they do. Our culture promotes a good work/life balance and supports the career progression of our staff.
We’ve highlighted some of the careers of our people, outlining the diverse paths they have taken to get where they are today.
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