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SBA Justine - SBA Justine

Renovo and SBA The Solicitors’ Charity – Justine’s story

Renovo, one of the UK’s leading providers of job search and career transition support, has been involved with the ACO and working closely with ACO members since 2013, delivering much-needed career and back to work support for their Clients. One such partnership has been with SBA The Solicitors’ Charity and Justine’s story is just one example of this great partnership in action.

Justine qualified in 1990 and worked successfully as a family practitioner in private practice for over 25 years, until she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a long-term neurological disorder. The next 18 months saw Justine begin to struggle with contentious work and she progressively lost confidence in her own skills, finding it difficult to cope with demanding clients when she herself felt vulnerable.

A year after her diagnosis, Justine moved to a more general team, thinking the work might be easier to manage alongside her condition. Unfortunately, she found instead a high-pressure environment. After six months of ten-hour days – all computer-based with few breaks and no administrative support – she felt close to breakdown and had to leave.

Psychologically, I found it difficult to come to terms with my diagnosis and the limitations it imposed, in limiting my energy levels and movement. It also had an impact on my speech and ability to write when tired. When I factored in my health issues, I knew I needed help to explore the viability of transitioning to non-contentious work. I still had working potential but no idea where, what or how.”

Justine spotted details about SBA in the Law Society Gazette and, within a week of making an application, had been referred to Renovo for specialist support with career transition.

“My coach at Renovo and the online sources of information and assessments through Workfriend certainly helped me to re-focus and gave me a sense of direction to help facilitate a return to work.

I was able to assess that my future lay in non-contentious Private Client work – less stressful and where I could retain control and determine the pace at which I am able to work. I felt it was also the best field in which I could make the most of my transferable skills. Through Renovo, I worked on identifying and constructing the ’tools’ I needed to move forward.  It was a boost to my self-esteem, and a real test of my ability to cope with a return to work! After a period of rest, counselling and medical intervention, I was ready to return to a new and permanent role. I tried a locum appointment with flexible hours. It was not the practice area I wanted to work in, but it was a boost to my self-esteem, and a real test of my ability to cope with a return to work!

I worked consistently with Renovo – who were very supportive – to take my career in the direction I needed to go as a Private Client lawyer. Within four months, I was able to fulfil my goal and took on a permanent appointment. It was all quite an experience and I couldn’t have done it without Renovo or SBA’s invaluable support”

Renovo is a corporate member of the ACO and for more information about the careers and job search support that they could offer, please contact Chris Parker, Managing Director at