5 Minutes with a Criminal Law Solicitor

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5 Minutes with a Criminal Law Solicitor

Marcela Salter is a Duty Solicitor in the Criminal Law Team and Bell Lamb & Joynson. The role of a criminal law solicitor is diverse and incredibly interesting! We spend 5 minutes with Marcela to find out more about how she got into criminal law, her biggest challenges and what inspires her...

Did you always know that you wanted to be a Lawyer?

I literally fell into Law, my first job in Law was as the “Office Junior” back in December 1989, I started to handle the files and became interested in Criminal Law

How did you get into criminal law?

I was given an opportunity to become a legal clerk by my then employer who said he would give me a 3 month trial period if I passed it I could secure the position if I didn’t it was back to the mail room for me!

How did you balance family life alongside a law degree and LPC?

I got as high up within the team as I could without a law degree, so I signed up to John Moores university on my law degree, I worked full time did my degree part time whilst having a young family, my youngest son was 11 months old when I enrolled. I had great support from my Husband throughout my studies, after I completed the LLB I went straight on to the LPC again on a part time basis.

What inspires you most in your role?

I am dedicated to providing robust legal advice and assistance to people who are not able to defend themselves

What are the most interesting or your favourite aspects of your role?

I really enjoy advocacy.

What is the most challenging part about being a Solicitor working in criminal law?

Ensuring to manage my clients expectations.

What has been your proudest moment of your career so far?

Dealing with a very high profile murder case which attracted internation interest.

What is the biggest / most interesting case you have worked on?

The case of Girl X & Boy Y at Manchester Crown Court from the police station stage right up to sentence.

What types of criminal cases do you typically work on?

All criminal cases involving Drugs, Assault, Dishonesty & Sexual offences.

Have you ever been scared during your career as a criminal lawyer?

Yes when a defendant hurt himself whilst in the dock with a blade.

What are your typical hours of work?

Normally 9am-5pm Monday – Friday but I can be contacted at any time day or night and weekends too, I have spent Christmas Day in a Police Station advising a client at the police interview!

How do you switch off from your cases when you are at home?

Sometimes but it is hard to switch off, especially i'm involved with a difficult case.

Have you had any cases keep you awake at night?


What is the biggest misconception about being a criminal lawyer?

Its glamourous! Its very much not!

How do you prepare for a big day in court?

Ensure I know my case start to finish inside out and back to front – Preparation is key.

Is there anyone in the legal profession that you look up to or who inspires you?

I like listening to Judges sum up cases and how they direct the jury on the Law.

What would you say to someone thinking about qualifying into criminal law?

Do it, no day is ever the same. If you have a passion for Criminal Law follow your heart/dream

Lets get to know you better with some quickfire questions:

What is your favourite holiday destination? Lanzarote is my Happy Place

Who is your favourite singer/band/song? Madonna

What football / rugby / other sports team do you follow? Liverpool Football Club

What was your dream job as a child? I wanted to be an airhostess

What is your favourite tipple? Chilean Red Wine

How do you spend a typical weekend? Cleaning... I love Mrs Hinch

Do you have any pets? Broudie our 15yr old Staffordshire Bullterrier

What is your favourite type of cuisine? Italian