Nov 2022
Out and About in the Carbon Community with Laura Manning

We love the diversity of our lawyers at Carbon. There is no “Carbon” type, no mould to fit. We are a community of individuals and we all play to different strengths, respecting the unique skills that each our lawyers has, helping them to work towards their own vision of success, whatever that might be.

At Carbon, there’s a way for every lawyer to build a legal practice and flourish.

It was tricky to pin our litigation specialist Laura Manning down to have a chat. She is, by her own admission, someone who willingly shuns any kind of limelight to crack on with what she loves the most, which is her client work.

Happily the Carbon model has enabled her to do just this.

So read on, as Laura tells us about Carbon’s Bristol Hub, her stint in-house and balancing lawyering with parenting her three year old.

So Laura, what would you rather be doing than talking to me?

Honestly, I visibly cringe at any kind of publicity! Even having my photo on the website. I love fighting my client’s corner, working through contracts, doing legal research, chatting to my clients…but putting myself out there is something I struggle with. I am lawyer who just loves doing the legal work. I want to focus on delivery.

I always say if we were all out there shouting about what we do, it would be unbearable! Tell us about how the Carbon model works for you in this way.

The model has really worked for me as I am part of a collaborative hub of Carbon partners in Bristol, alongside Neville Caton and Steffani Asquith. Between us we manage a lot of work, playing to each other’s legal and business strengths. I like that you are not on your own with Carbon. You can partner up with others and grow together, working to your skills as lawyers and professionals.

Carbon is a virtual firm, but tell us more about how you have created the Bristol Hub.

We have a physical office for me, Stef, Nev and some others in Nev’s team and our Carbon trainee, who will do their seat with me in the New Year. It’s great to have the office. I love being able to work from home for the flexibility, but I like having a mix of energy and some boundaries. I enjoy going in and bouncing stuff off legal colleagues, asking if you can run things past them, or sense checking documents. Working with other lawyers around you puts you in a different headspace, so in that way the hybrid working really works for me. Bristol is obviously a thriving city and we do a lot of work for clients in the region, but we do work for nationwide clients as well.

Tell us a bit more about your legal practice.

My work area is general civil litigation, and insolvency, within which I carry out  debt recovery and contractual reviews for small to medium sized businesses. I also work with commercial and residential landlords advising and assisting them with recovery of property, on a fixed fee basis. My work is varied which keeps life interesting..

With a volatile economic situation ahead once more, how do think this will affect work like insolvency and debt recovery?

I anticipate a lot more repossession work sadly, but I do also think measures will be brought in to protect people, as they were during lockdown. Displacing people from properties just creates another problem for social housing teams. It is a cycle. People need homes. A balance needs to be drawn between the rights of law abiding landlords and their tenants..

Tell us a bit about your time working in-house.

This was my first experience as a legal consultant, working via a flexible legal resourcing business within the legal team of a global financial services business. It was a totally different kettle of fish. Being an independent adviser when working in-house can be challenging. We know this in the wake of recent scandals. How do you represent the business whilst remaining truly impartial? It’s such a complex business world. And having that accountability is hard. Just learning the business language itself was a challenge. It was a great commercial experience which made me think a lot of about who we serve as lawyers.

What are you doing when you are not lawyering?

I have a three-year-old daughter who has just recovered from chickenpox – the working parent struggle is real!  She keeps me busy and balanced.  Fortunately, due to the flexibility of my work we get to spend lots of time together, certainly more so than when I was working 8.30-5.30 with a lengthy commute.

What would you have done if you had not become a lawyer?

This might sound boring, but from a REALLY young age I wanted to be a lawyer! Since I was about 8. I have no idea why, nobody in my family was a lawyer, I didn’t idolise any famous lawyers or TV characters or anything….I just decided law was the career for me and then pursued it relentlessly and never wavered from the dream, regardless of how mundane it turned out to be! No really, I love it most days…..

Thank you Laura, for taking the time to chat, even though I know you would have rather done anything else! It is always wonderful to find out about the human behind the lawyer and show that there are many different ways to become a legal consultant – including teaming up with someone and forming your own hub.

If you would like to contact Laura about the legal support she can provide you or your business, get in touch today.