We feel so lucky to have so many great lawyers (and all-round great people) on our team here at Bellevue Law – and we hope you’re enjoying getting to know them better through our series of profiles!
This week, we’re catching up with Rachel Clementson, one of our expert employment lawyers. Join us to find out more about Rachel’s career highlights, challenges, and how she manages to mix socialising and fitness (even during lockdown)!
Can you explain what you do in under 20 words?
I help clients navigate employment issues in a commercial and pragmatic way, assisting them to achieve their business goals.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it that still rings true today?
One of my first jobs was as barmaid in a local village pub! I didn’t have any real work experience, and it was the first time I had talked to people who I had never really come across before. It was daunting at the start. Meeting strangers and finding common ground with them helped grow my confidence. The experience was invaluable; being a lawyer is about applying the law, but also your clients need to feel that you’re on their side and understand them fully. Much of that is about communication, connections, listening and having their best interests at heart – and I got an insight to that when I was working behind the bar.
Looking back over your career, what’s been your proudest moment?
It’s hard to pick one, but I’d have to say that working with such a stable and varied client base is a real achievement. There is nothing more satisfying than a client coming back time and time again and then recommending you to their contacts. That is how much of my work is generated.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
When a client presents a new, complex scenario, it can feel like a blank page. You have no context. It can be tempting to feel slightly overwhelmed. With experience, I have learnt to listen, ask questions and absorb the information as quickly as possible. I am lucky that I have a good memory for detail; so, before long, the new matter becomes familiar and manageable. It is only when you have context and detail that you are able to give pragmatic and commercial advice.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Can I have two?! First, you have to recognise what is not within your remit of responsibility and learn to let that go. I tend to try to take responsibility for everything… in fact, I think a lot of lawyers are like that. You want to resolve everything, for everyone – but that isn’t always possible!
Also, be true to yourself. My old boss once said: ‘Rachel, you are a great lawyer and you care – don’t change that. Always be that lawyer.’ This advice stood me in good stead. When I work with clients regularly, they respect my inputs and we work together to find solutions. These solutions can be true to my values and also pragmatic and commercial. You can’t change who you are and I would never compromise my integrity.
What makes Bellevue Law special?
I love the fact that all the lawyers at Bellevue Law are highly experienced and enthusiastic experts in their field. We have all previously worked (and could continue to work) in a City firm – but we’ve chosen to work in this unique way. The result is a team who are exceptional at their jobs and form a hugely supportive network for each other. Bellevue Law’s founder, Florence, sets the tone for the firm: she’s insightful, commercial, business orientated but hugely supportive and kind. Everyone performs at their best when they feel comfortable and supported.
And, finally, what’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
I enjoy being active, including HIIT, yoga, walking the dog and running. I’ve always been a runner. I have competed in 8 half marathons, gaining my PB in my last race a couple of years ago. Now I combine fitness with socialising, going for a run every weekend with a group of local friends. It’s incredibly important to me. We meet at an eye-watering time in the morning and run 10k together. Even during lockdown we kept it going – we had a conference call instead and simply dialled in, so we were running ‘together’ even when apart. It was almost the same as the real thing!
When I’m running on my own, it’s the only time in my day that I don’t think about anything at all. Yet, when I get home, I have often found solutions to issues playing on my mind: running is so good for my subconscious.
Whether running alone or with my friends, I always have a huge sense of achievement after a good run!