In conversation with Becky Whitfield: Supported to climb the career ladder
We caught up with Becky Whitfield from our Costs team to hear all about her career. Becky has developed her career from joining the firm as a Clerical Assistant to now holding the position of Associate Costs Lawyer.
"I didn't go to university, I started my career at the bottom of the ladder and with the massive help and financial support of the firm worked my way up to qualification. "
Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?
I didn’t always want to be a lawyer. In fact I never thought I would be clever enough to be one! When I was at school, I really wanted to be an airhostess but by the time I was ready to sit my CGSEs I really didn’t know what I actually wanted to do when I left school.
What's been your career story so far?
I started work with Atherton Godfrey (now Switalskis) in November 1999 as a clerical assistant, and after getting a few years' experience moved to a role as a secretary in the personal injury department. After 10 years as a secretary I moved to another role, still within the firm, taking up my new position in the New Work team. My role involved taking new instructions for personal injury and clinical negligence matters and arranging funding.
In 2012 I joined the Costs Team and in 2014 started studying the ACL Costs Lawyer course. I qualified as a Costs Lawyer in August 2017 and was in 2023 I was promoted to Associate Costs Lawyer. I've not worked anywhere prior to Atherton Godfrey who integrated with Switalskis in December 2022, my entire career since the 90s has been at the same firm.
Tell us about your typical day...
A typical day in the world of Costs is to make as much money for the firm as possible! My daily tasks range from general admin tasks, preparing Bills of Costs, Statements of Costs, Court proceedings, negotiations, settlements and billing of money when it arrives.
Although my job can be a bit stressful with the responsibility of bringing in money, that is what I love. I love to see the hours spent on files turn into pounds and when they do it feels like a big achievement. Essentially playing my part in helping to run the business.
I love that my role benefits from hybrid working - I don't know how I managed without it before. I'm most productive at home where it is a quiet and uninterrupted environment. I must add that I do still enjoy my days working with my colleagues in the office, it's a lovely contrast to my days working from home.