Rachel Evans, now a newly qualified (NQ) Solicitor, and the growing Immigration team at WTB Solicitors are celebrating the completion of her training contract. Rachel was the firm’s first trainee and has been retained by the firm as her career progresses.
After gaining a wealth of experienced as a Senior Immigration Caseworker with WTB, Rachel is now a newly qualified Solicitor and specialises in immigration, asylum, nationality and EEA free movement law.
Upon qualifying, I asked Rachel a few questions to further understand Immigration as an area of practice and why she is passionate about this area of law. I would like to share with you her answers.
Q: Why did you choose Immigration Law?
A: “I came to immigration law almost by accident. I didn’t study the area before but after my law degree and LPC I was looking for what to do next and I thought asylum and refugee law seemed interesting. It was not obvious how to get into it though as there were specific qualifications required to practice. I got in contact with a national legal charity called the Immigration Advisory Service to ask them about how to get into the area and then one day a while later they contacted me to ask if I wanted to apply for a job with them. They trained me up and put me through the relevant exams and I’ve been working in this area ever since (11 ½ years now).”
Rachel advises on personal immigration and business matters, and has particular expertise dealing with complex Human Rights family applications and appeals.
Q: What do you see as future difficulties and challenges to the Immigration sector?
A: “Immigration Law is a political football and has been for many years. This means we are constantly subject to the whims of the government at a particular time and the public mood which is often in the direction of less immigration and fewer people being allowed into the country. This means the law is changing on a constant basis and resulting in the immigration rules in all areas, whether family reunion or work permit and student visas more difficult to meet.
I expect the most complex upcoming change with be the impact of leaving the European Union and free movement rights being ended for EEA nationals. There is a great deal of uncertainty both for individuals and their families as well as for employers.”
Having already accumulated a variety of experiences in many different cases, Rachel provides her clients with legal advice and assistance with applications to UKBA from both within and outside the UK, to giving legal representation before the Immigration and Asylum Chamber Tribunal.
Q: As NQ, what are your favourite parts of being a solicitor? And, what do you find most difficult?
A: “My favourite part of my job is being able to make a positive difference to someone’s life. It is very rewarding to know you’ve helped someone reunite with a family member or prevent their removal and being separated from family or returning to a country where their life is in danger. However this can also be the difficult part when an application is refused and you have to tell a person this.”
Q: As the first WTB trainee to qualify, how did you find the training and support at WTB Solicitors?
A: “I was given the flexibility to be able to fit in all of my PSC training courses and was helped to reduce my caseload so that I could devote time to other areas of law within the office.”
Q: What do you think it takes to be a successful Immigration Solicitor?
A: “I think you need to keep reminding yourself that it is worthwhile even though it can often feel otherwise. With the constant changes and restrictions in this area of law over the years, with making the rules more difficult to meet, increasing the application fees, restricting appeals rights and the general attitude towards immigration and asylum seekers it is an area of law which can be incredibly disheartening at times to persist with. It’s important to concentrate on the positives when they come.”
As a dedicated legal professional, and now a newly qualified Solicitor, Rachel continues to provide a high quality of service to all her clients and prides herself on ensuring a thorough assessment and attention to detail in every case.