THIS WEEK’S Pride of the Port is solicitor Clare Graham who handles and supervises employers' liability claims at a large Chester law firm.
A former Catholic High School pupil, Claire, 34, joined Walker Smith Way (WSW) as a trainee in 1998 and became a partner early in 2006.
Her specialist areas include accidents at work, manual handling, repetitive strain injury, deafness and vibration white finger.
Committed Everton supporter Claire said: “I was brought up in Great Sutton and attended St Saviours Junior School, then EPCHS,
“I Left Ellesmere Port to study at University of Liverpool and graduated in Law with a 2:1 LLB Hons
“I returned to live in at home to complete legal practice course at College of Law Christleton, then started two year training contract with WSW.”
Claire qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and was made an associate in 2003, before being promoted to partner 2006.
What are your memories of growing up in Ellesmere port?
I do have lots of happy memories of Ellesmere Port particularly from school and my Saturday job at the now sadly defunct Kwik Save on Whitby Road.
I made some firm friendships and also first laid eyes on my husband one Saturday lunchtime when he was working in Woolies!
What or who has been the greatest inspiration behind your career?
I owe a great deal to my elder sister who initially sparked my interest in a career in the law at an early age.
She, along with the rest of my family, has always given me great encouragement and support along the way.
Did any particular teacher inspire you?
I am proud of my excellent education at Ellesmere Port Catholic High and I was lucky to be taught by many great teachers.
In particular Robert Flewitt, Mike Jolly and Andre Berzins all provided invaluable wisdom and guidance.
What do you consider your greatest achievement professionally?
I am extremely proud to be a partner at Walker Smith Way, the firm where I began my legal career.
I am particularly proud of my role in the continuing expansion of our working relationship with trade unions. I do hope however that my greatest professional achievement is still yet to come.
What's the best advice you could give to young people starting out in their career?
It is increasingly difficult for young people starting out in any career, particularly given the demand for higher education and the associated financial burden.
I think it is important to try to keep an open mind and not to become pressured into following a particular path.
Ultimately, to be successful and happy in your professional life, you have to enjoy what you do, whatever that may be.
To date, what is your biggest regret professionally?
I have been fortunate enough in my career, certainly to date (!), to be able to say that I do not have any professional regrets.
Do you have a personal philosophy?
It is not a philosophy as such, but professionalism, commitment and hard work are all qualities I strive to maintain and are those which I value most in others.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue to develop the business at Walker Smith Way. I do have a particular interest in the recruitment of our trainee solicitors, who are of course the potential future partners of the firm.
Looking back can you identify a turning point in your career where you started to believe in your own success?
When I qualified as a solicitor and received my first practising certificate I felt a great sense of achievement but with hindsight I now appreciate that in fact that is when the hard work really started.
When times have been tough, what has motivated you?
Keeping in mind that if others can achieve my goals, then so can I, and remembering how fortunate I am to be where I am.
interview by Selena O’Donnell