10 questions with Scottish Paralegal of the Year, Beth Speakman

What’s your biggest fear?

Being lonely! Although I love my own company, I also love to talk the hind legs off a donkey!

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

When I was growing up I wanted to be a hairdresser. My godmother is a hairdresser so I think I just liked the idea of following her footsteps until she managed to put me off by saying I would be standing on my feet all day!

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would most likely treat myself and my family; help them pay off their mortgages etc. I would then travel the world and put my free time into charities. I am a strong believer of charities – the work they do is just fantastic. My family have needed the help of some charities over the years so I know how valuable their services are and I would love to give something back.

If you could be anyone, who would you be?

Willy Wonka as I love chocolate!

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

I would have stuck in more at school and then done my law degree. I considered doing my law degree when working in the conveyancing field many years ago but ended up never pursuing it, due to the climate of the country at the time. Looking back at it now, it is something I wished I had done.

When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?

I am a very family orientated person so I love spending time with my family in particular soon to be 5 nephews and 3 nieces (and don’t forget my husband!). I also enjoy socialising with my friends but when I am having some time to myself I like to support my local football team Hibernian and follow Formula One.

Why did you get into the legal sector?

I kind of landed in it by chance. I started in Watermans initially on a temporary basis as a typist. At this point I was pretty strong in thinking I don’t want a career in law, but 7 years later and a paralegal qualification under my belt, here I am! That being said I thoroughly enjoy my job and I am pleased to have landed here “by chance”.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing paralegals today?

The job itself can be challenging in many aspects but seeing a successful end result is extremely rewarding.

What’s been the most interesting case you ever worked on and why?

One of the most interesting cases I have worked on was a teenager who sustained a brain injury and traumatic amputation to his lower leg after being knocked off his bicycle. The depth of work, reading and knowledge required for this case was very challenging but extremely interesting at the same time. The accident had a huge impact on my client’s life and future plans, so seeing a successful positive result was the most rewarding feeling ever.

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who has just started out in the industry, what would it be?

If you work hard and seize every opportunity that comes your way you’ll get very far!