Jane Armitage

Legal Consultant, North Yorkshire

Sector: Legal

Jane Armitage is a successful solicitor and consultant with Jacksons law firm. She has taken several career breaks, due to having children and her husband’s work, however she did not let that stop her from becoming managing partner of Jacksons, before stepping down earlier this year.  

Where do you call home?

I was born and grew up in the south of England but my home since the early 90’s has been in North Yorkshire and I have worked in Tees Valley. I brought up my children here and definitely consider Teesside area as my home.

Tell us about your role? 

I am a solicitor and a consultant at Jacksons Law Firm a full service legal practice in Stockton on Tees. My role is to do legal work for some clients of the firm but also to promote the firm in the business community and to provide client liaison and management support to the partners of the firm. Until earlier this year I was the managing partner of the firm.

How did you get to where you are today?

When I left school, I went to university to study law. I had decided I wanted to do this, following discussions with career service and work experience in local solicitors practice. I was the first person in my family ever to go to university. Following university, I studied for professional exams and then obtained a training contract with a large solicitors practice in Bristol. I stayed with the practice when I qualified specialising in commercial property. Having met and married my husband and with a young baby my husband was transferred to Teesside with his company and we moved north. I had some time at home with my son and then a few years after our daughter was born, I did some legal work running my own legal practice. Our family moved then to Chicago for three years with my husband’s job and as I was unable to work there due to visa restrictions I did voluntary work in a school and for a charity providing winter clothing for children who needed it.

Upon our return to the UK, it was time to return to my career as a commercial property lawyer and I obtained a part time temporary contract with Jacksons which became permanent and then full time. I became a partner and then a business owning partner and for 6 years managing partner being effectively the managing director of the business.

Earlier this year I agreed a succession plan with the firm and stepped down as managing partner but was delighted to be asked by the firm to stay as a consultant on a part-time basis.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?

As with most careers mine has had a few challenges.

Initially I had to overcome a resistance from some members of my family that I wanted to go to university. I was lucky that my parents were very supportive but my grandparents for example thought I had “ideas above my station”. My next challenge was to fund the period of study for my professional exams. With some persuasion my local authority funded the fees and my parents managed to help me with living costs using redundancy money my father had received as he found a new role.

My next challenge was obtaining the elusive training contract. It took over 100 letters to find the right firm and that was a major achievement but required some perseverance and resilience when many of my contemporaries were getting contracts quicker and easier than I was.

You will see from the timeline above that my next challenges involved career breaks and relocation so the challenge when I took the role at Jacksons was confidence that I could still do the job and was worthy of the promotions I received. This was especially true when I became managing partner, but I was well supported and encouraged by my family and I knew I would never forgive myself if I did not try.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?

There were two moments when I got a feel for success. The first was as a young solicitor when commercial clients began to ask for me personally because they felt I would do a good job for them. This made me believe I could be a good lawyer and provide excellent advice and client care. I realised that I could win the confidence of these clients and they saw me as a lawyer they could trust and rely on.

The second moment was after some very difficult months as managing partner when staff began to tell me that they were happy I was in the role and that I had made really good improvements and that Jacksons was a great place to work. At that time, I realised that I did know how to manage and could lead people. It was a fantastic feeling although there were still many challenges and still confidence crises ahead!

Do you have any advice to aspiring young females?

My advice would be if you want something work hard to achieve it. You do not know what you are capable of until you try. Lots of people will help you but you need to ask for help and listen to advice. Be resilient and don’t give up if it proves difficult.

I would also say that now there are many different routes you can follow to become a lawyer so if there are too many obstacles one way try another. You are going to be working for many years so if something takes you a little longer to achieve than you would like then that is Ok.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t worry so much and enjoy the journey. Learn to believe in yourself and others will to. Very few people have a smooth career path but sometimes you get to where you want to be by the most unexpected route.

Work hard, give of yourself and believe and you will be astounded what you can achieve.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path? 

I think I use four words – nothing ventured, nothing gained!

If it had to be three – courage, positivity determination.

Other Stories

Here you can find other stories that you might find interesting

Samantha Hockney
Sector: PR and Marketing Samantha Hockney was always a “homebird” and found herself questioning whether leaving home to go to university…
Sophie Spaldin
Sector: PR and Marketing Sophie Spaldin spent many years undertaking unpaid internships help her gauge where she wanted her career to go.…
Lesley Graham
Sector: Education After being a stay-at-home mum for 10 years, Lesley Graham decided to enrol on a teaching certificate. Today,…
Victoria Richards
Sector: Project Management Adjusting to English led lessons at university was a struggle for Victoria Richards, after coming from a…
Holly Wilson
Sector: PR and Marketing While dealing with the death of one of her closest friends, Holly Wilson has had to…
Amy Pounder
Sector: Personal Training After tackling her own mental health struggles, Amy Pounder set up her own personal training business. Today,…