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Keen to be a practice manager in a law firm?  Find out how Sharline achieved just that

Keen to be a practice manager in a law firm? Find out how Sharline achieved just that

Sharline Fitzgerald, Practice Manager, Holland Beckett Law

What did you want to be when you were 16?
A Chartered Accountant.

What did you end up doing when you left school?
Accounting Clerk at a Chartered Accountants office.

Describe a day in your life at work:
Problem-solving, improving work procedures, introducing new procedures and technologies as they become necessary or available, looking after the resources of the business, reporting to the business owners, managing a team of staff to reach their full potential.

Why do you love your job/career?
Job variety, project work and being involved in decision making for the organisation.

How did you get into your career?
I had good accounting knowledge from my first two jobs in Chartered Accountants offices. When an office management position came up in a small law firm I applied for the job and got it.

What qualifications did you study?
I studied for a Diploma in Business part-time while working. My first employer (Chartered Accountant) suggested that I study this and I carried on after I left that job. By the time I completed my Diploma I had 10 years of work experience. The Diploma proved that I had the academic ability which complemented my work experience and good references.

Do you have any advice for getting into your sector?
Take an entry-level position and make the most of it. Use your initiative, efficiency and enthusiasm to impress the people around you. Promotions and opportunities are likely to come your way. If you need to leave that job for career progression you will have earned a great reference letter. Alternatively, you could start your career in HR, Accountancy or IT and then try to cross over into the Legal industry. Start with a small firm where you will learn the management skills on the job.

What do you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had been more ambitious earlier in my career. 

What would you say to your teenage self about defining your future?
Get the best academic results you are capable of achieving – this is what gets you in the door. Involve yourself in all the opportunities that come your way. Find the career that suits your personality.