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Becoming a 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. At that time I would never have believed that I would work in an office!

My ballet career was short, having met and married my husband 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.

I had always been interested in the principles of law and justice, and when my youngest son started school I decided to start a Legal Executive course at college. Unfortunately, the course was cancelled, but my tutor suggested I volunteer at my local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which I did and 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 was encouraged to consider undertaking a law degree. I was offered a place at Bristol University and started my degree course just after my 40th birthday.

There were only 5 mature students in my year and we became, and remain, firm friends. I went on to undertake the Legal Practice Course and was then lucky enough to secure a Training Contract with a large West Country law firm, following which I could finally call myself a solicitor. It had taken me 7 years but was worth all the blood, sweat and tears.

I moved to Oakham in 2007 to be closer to family and began working for Hegarty Solicitors in November 2015. Family law has always been my preferred practice area and my ultimate aim is to try and make the often difficult and emotional family situations less stressful and confrontational. 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.

Hegarty Solicitors offers a 1 hour fixed fee appointment with a family solicitor for initial advice for £100+VAT. To speak to a member of our family team please call 01733 346 333 or email

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