Inspirational Leaders – in Conversation with Kelly Mills

Posted By: on 22nd March 2022 | Category: Blog, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Property Disputes

In the second in our series of interviews with the inspirational women leaders at Coole Bevis, we speak to Kelly Mills, Partner. Kelly joined the firm in January 2022 to Head the Dispute Resolution team and in this interview talks about the circumstances that led her to choose a career in law, her top tips for women working within legal profession and more…

Why did you decide to become a Lawyer?

It is fascinating where life takes you, isn’t it? My first career choice (as a Royal Naval Weapons Engineering Officer) was thwarted by a period of prolonged ill health, which also forced me to revisit my choice of A’ levels due to a timetabling clash on my return to sixth form.

Law was the only subject that interested me out of those which fit into my new schedule, and I enjoyed the subject so much that I decided to study law at university. The rest is history.

Although I was devastated at the time, I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. I have always enjoyed getting to know people and solving problems, so being a commercial disputes specialist is the perfect career choice for me.

What does great leadership mean to you?

So many things.

To me, a great leader leads from the front and is not afraid to get their hands dirty. I don’t think you should ever ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.

Being decisive, but also willing to listen and to be open to new ideas, allowing people room to flourish and in their own way.

What advice would you give to the twenty-year-old you?

Life isn’t a straight line (see above!), and neither is it a race to the finish; your time will come, so enjoy the journey in the meantime and don’t compare your path (or yourself) to other people’s. As they say “comparison is the thief of joy”, which is only exacerbated by the façade that is social media.

What does the future hold for you?

I would really love to have a crystal ball! Hopefully, good health and happiness will feature prominently.

Career-wise, joining Coole Bevis in January 2022 was a significant (but exciting!) move for me, having spent over 15 years at my last firm. I already feel very much a part of the firm and am really looking forward to this next stage of my career, developing the dispute resolution team and contributing towards the continuing growth of the firm.

What are your top three tips for women in law and business, generally, today?

  1. Always have a positive mind set – see challenges as opportunities, solutions not problems;
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things – before you say “no” ask yourself “why not?” You never know where things may lead;
  3. It’s OK to ask for help – having it “all” is a myth and an impossible standard to live up to without a reliable support network. Find your network and use it, often.

 

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