Tamsin Morris

Tamsin is a senior associate in our regulatory law team, located in our Manchester office. After training and qualifying at Mills & Reeve, Tamsin took a 12 year career break from law. Having built up experience in other sectors, she returned to Mills & Reeve in 2022.

Can you tell us about your career before returning to Mills & Reeve?

Having trained at Mills & Reeve over 20 years ago and worked here upon qualification, I later moved to another firm in Manchester. After having my first child, that firm unfortunately rejected my request to work part time working post-maternity leave, so I decided to leave the law and become a stay-at-home mum. Once my boys were at school, I took a more flexible job at a local women’s prison supporting the families of prisoners, and then progressed to managing the mother and baby unit. During the Covid pandemic I worked as an advocate for high-risk domestic abuse victims.

How did returning to law come about, and how was the experience?

I’d been thinking about my career and wanted to explore returning to law. My youngest son was about to start high school and it felt like a ‘now or never’ moment. The legal profession isn’t generally very progressive in encouraging women to rejoin after career breaks, and I wasn’t sure if it was possible! Upon spotting a job at Mills & Reeve, some old colleagues put me in touch with the recruiting partner who was really helpful and encouraged me to apply.

It’s definitely challenging adjusting back to life as a lawyer. Not many lawyers currently return after such a long career break and law has traditionally followed a very linear career path. Returners, however, often have useful skillsets that we’ve developed during our years away. In my case, for example, management skills gained in previous roles.

Mills & Reeve has recognised the challenges and welcomed me back with open arms. Everyone has been very supportive and happy to help. The firm has really invested in my legal training since my return to ensure that my knowledge is up to date, and supported me to undertake additional qualifications. While it’s involved a lot of hard work, I’m really happy with my role and have been pleased at how quickly I’ve settled back in. I’ve also been promoted to senior associate since my return.

I had the privilege of speaking in the 2023 National Women Returners Conference about my experiences. I’ve had so many emails since from other female lawyers asking for advice about returning to law, as there isn’t much information out there. It really sets Mills & Reeve apart from other firms that they’ve supported my return.

What inspired you to become co-chair of the Balance network?

Balance is a staff network to support and drive progress around gender issues. I volunteered to be co-chair of the network as I’m a huge believer in empowering other women and supporting others to succeed. My other experiences during my career break mean I bring a different perspective to the role of Balance co-chair. Our networks do a great job of enabling colleagues from across the firm to share their experiences and through Balance we can facilitate valuable conversations about important gender related issues. Mills & Reeve has always been a friendly and supportive place to work and the staff networks play a key role in taking this to the next level.

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