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From Ballet Dancer to Family Solicitor

Hegarty Solicitors’ Julia Weber discusses her unusual route into law from Ballet Dancer to Family Solicitor.  

My route into law was not exactly typical. I originally trained as a ballet dancer, having attended Ballet School from the age of 11, followed by a theatre arts college in London. At that time I would never have believed that I would ever work in an office!

My ballet career was short, having met and married my husband when in my early twenties. I had my three sons in quick succession over the following 4 years, so for a while I was a very busy mum and wife.

When my youngest son started school, I decided it was time to wake up my brain, and I started a Legal Executive course at college, having always been interested in law, and the principles of fairness and justice. Unfortunately, the course was cancelled but my tutor suggested I volunteer at my local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which I did. The training was tough but I loved it. Over time I became a Director and Trustee of my ‘flagship’ CAB branch and life was good, but sadly it wasn’t to last.

In May 1997 my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer, and died 18 months later. It was a devastating loss – and my sons were still aged only 11,13 and 15.

It sounds like a cliché, but I really needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning, so 10 months after my husband’s death, I enrolled on some college courses, and met the woman who effectively changed my life.  Kathy, my ‘A’ level law tutor was not only a great teacher, but she encouraged me to ‘think big’, and to consider undertaking a law degree because I always had so many questions! She helped me complete my UCAS application and ‘rehearsed’ me in interview situations. I aimed high as I had nothing to lose, and applied to Bristol University (I’m a West Country girl born and bred). Amazingly, I was offered a place despite having been out of education for almost 25 years. I had my 40th birthday just before I started my degree course – a good time, it seemed, to begin a new life.

My three years at Bristol University really were some of the happiest of my life. There were only 5 mature students in my year and we became, and remain, firm friends. They were all intending to qualify as solicitors and I got caught in their momentum. So, I went on to undertake the Legal Practice Course, which entailed a further year’s study of a more practical nature, and was then lucky enough to secure a Training Contract with a large West Country law firm with 11 branch offices. The Training Contract was two years’ of on the job training, following which I could finally call myself a solicitor.  It had taken me 7 years, but was worth all the blood, sweat and tears (although I still have nightmares about taking exams!).

I moved to Oakham in 2007 to be closer to family, and love living in this beautiful part of the world. I began working for Hegarty Solicitors in November 2015, having previously worked for another local firm.

Family law has always been my preferred practice area, probably because I like people and I am always interested in listening to their stories.

My ultimate aim is to try and make the often difficult and emotional family situations in which clients find themselves, less stressful and confrontational and to help them achieve their desired outcome. It is possible to have a ‘good’ divorce or separation, and that is what I would want for my clients, because it is such a gift to any children if their parents can continue to be civil to each other, even after separation. I offer a wide range of Family Law services including divorce and separation, financial settlements, cohabitation agreements, pre and post nuptial agreements and arrangements for children.

Julia Weber is a solicitor in the family department at Hegarty Solicitors in Oakham. Julia offers a holistic approach to helping clients through what is often an emotional time, and encourages a cooperative approach between parties. To speak to Julia about any aspect of Family Law, separation or to talk through all your available options call 01572 725 772 or email

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