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Army Officer Swaps the Military for a Career in Law

Mark Hood spent 20 years in the armed forces but in 2015, he decided to change vocation completely and become a solicitor.  Two years on, he has passed his Graduate Diploma in Law and his Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Bristol, and he is now starting his training at Battens Solicitors, one of the most respected top Legal 500 law firms in the South West. 

“I’d considered entering law when I was younger and came across it during my Army career, particularly when applying military law to the situations soldiers found themselves in, but it wasn’t until more recently that the time felt right for me to make the change.” 

“The Army prepared me in many different ways for a career in the legal profession. I remember, during a presentation at a university open day, mentally ticking off the qualities a successful solicitor needed to have: the ability to prioritise intelligently, teamwork, working to deadlines, an ability to communicate ideas, flexibility, adaptability and integrity.  I could see that I had developed every one of those attributes during my time in the forces and I knew that my military training and the experience I had gained would stand me in good stead for my career change. That presentation really confirmed to me that I had a great deal to offer a future employer.” 

Mark now works as a trainee solicitor at Battens Solicitors, and is thrilled to be receiving a high standard of training and development there. 

“I know that others from my course, who have gone into large firms, feel like they are not yet trusted to meet clients and spend much of their time photocopying. When I was looking at where I would like to train, Battens was particularly attractive to me because of its first class reputation and its strong commercial awareness; but also because it manages to be a friendly, client-facing firm with excellent people who know their subjects intimately. This means that like all trainees here, I obtain enviable experience at the coalface straight away.” 

Peter Livingstone, who heads up trainees at Battens, agrees: 

“Members of the armed forces, both by aptitude and as a result of their training and experience, have an approach to doing things which is slightly different from the norm. They are direct and pragmatic, clear communicators and problem-solvers.  They are excellent people to have around when you want to get something done. 

“Mark’s military background gives him a fantastic chance of making a very good solicitor.  Battens is a great place for him to embark upon his second career, not only because we offer good flexibility, but because we can provide our trainees with early hands-on work, which means that they waste no time in getting stuck in.” 

Mark is currently working in the Private Client department at Battens in Dorchester dealing primarily with Wills and Estates. 

 “It’s very client-facing and I’ve been able to meet and help quite a few clients already.  I get a great deal of satisfaction in drafting a Will that meets the client’s needs, but I have another two years of training and am very open-minded about the area of law that I will finally qualify into.

 “Changing my career after 20 years in the Army may have seemed like a risk, but anyone can do it provided they are prepared to work very hard and are resilient, single-minded and focussed. I’m very happy with the decision I made and when it comes to my role as a lawyer at Battens, I plan to be the best.”

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