From Betting Slips to Legal Tips – Changing Lanes like a Pro

Written by Thomas Baker
16 October, 2023

Good odds on this move! From working at Coral (the bookies) to working at Employment Law Solutions, new starter Tom Baker shares his thoughts on trading horse races for legal cases 🤣.

Before joining this amazing law firm, I worked at Coral for over three years while studying Law with Criminology at Keele University.

Working at Coral was an experience I’ll never forget. The bets, the customers, the names of the horses … every day was something different.

I started when I was just 18 years old: very apprehensive, unsure of myself and afraid. The experience helped to shape me and you’re probably thinking, “it’s just a part time job at a bookies?” But, that part time job became a second home. My manager was like my work mother and my favourite colleague was like my sister. We were the three musketeers.

Initially, I tried to keep my personal life and work life separate so I never ‘came out’ to them.  I found it difficult when people asked, “Do you like girls Tom? Are you speaking to anyone?” I would try to convince them that I was straight … even though I’d be pouting my lip filler and singing my heart out to YMCA 🤣🤣🤣. I jest but you get the gist.

Personally, after coming out to my work family, there was no holding back. I relaxed and released my true potential.  I became more confident, resilient and able to hold my own.

Professionally, the job required me to take responsibility, monitor compliance with the Gambling Commission and even intervene when there was excessive betting.

As soon as I obtained my law degree I wanted to start my career.

I searched for the right job for me.  I was successful in my first application – to Employment Law Solutions. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the job.  I rang my Mum straight away!

I started 2 weeks ago and what a whirlwind it has been.

I know I’ve switched lanes from odds and ends to laws and trends, but working at Employment Law Solutions is SUCH a different environment. From working behind a counter taking bets, to now having my own desk, answering the phone and ‘learning’ to tie a tie. The transition from retail to corporate has been a daunting one but I am loving every minute.

I’ve done a lot in 2 weeks.  😅

I have learnt: how to use the advice tracking system; spoken to clients; read a lot of law; watched a disciplinary hearing; took minutes in a welfare meeting; visited a client and watched a case in the Employment Tribunal! I have dealt with managers in care homes, estate agencies, factories and warehouses.  I have drafted letters of concern, resignation acknowledgements, variations to contracts and even a few dismissal letters.

Having realised what a huge change this is, I was wondering, why me?

To assist with this post (rather than being vane) 💅 I have asked the team why they chose me. Interestingly, their answers were not based on my legal knowledge…

  • Kevin said it was my personality
  • Mike said it was my ability to speak to people
  • Jen liked that my personality shone through in my CV (I started it with “Hello Future Employer”)
  • Alf liked my confidence, tone, ability to chat and that I had shined my own shoes.
  • Thank goodness I had the courage to be myself and the team thought I would fit in well. 🏳🌈

It has now become clear to me that my three years at Coral set me up perfectly to step into this new role.  The traits my new employer liked were ones I honed whilst working with members of the public and my previous work family.

So, what’s my plan for the next three years?

Well, at my interview Alf, the ‘Big Boss’, said “I want to train you to be the best lawyer there ever was.”

I now know that to achieve that, I need to learn from each lawyer and in particular:

  • Kevin’s charismatic personality and client handling skills
  • Mike’s attention to detail and ability to write
  • Jen’s knowledge on the law,
  • Alf’s gift of the gab (of course legal knowledge as it seems that he taught everyone!)
  • The whole team here has something to offer and in the next three years, even if I gain a little bit from each lawyer, I will be on the right track to being the best lawyer there is.

So on that note: no more gambling with chances, I’m all about employment law advances.  💚

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