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Catching up with...Michael Culver

Michael Culver graduated from Kingston in 2003 with a LLB in Law. He began his career in law with a local firm in Hertfordshire, qualifying as a solicitor in 2008, and has recently been appointed Chairman of Solicitors for the Elderly.

Kingston alum Michael CulverWhen were you at Kingston and what did you study?

I attended at Kingston between 2000 and 2003 and studied Law. 

What have you been up to since graduating?

I initially went to work for a nationwide car retailer on a graduate program and remained there for 18 months deciding I wanted to go back into law. I therefore quit my job and determined to get as much legal work experience as I could before going to do the legal practice course. I managed to secure a 2 week placement at a local law firm in Hertfordshire and ended up staying there for 9 years qualifying as a solicitor in 2008.

Since qualification I have worked in private client law.

That same year I joined Solicitors for the Elderly and since that time I have studied to become a full member of the Society and Estate Practitioners. They hold their qualification out to be equivalent to a masters degree. I also became a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists in 2010 and in 2014 I joined Bolt Burdon Solicitors in Islington becoming a partner in 2017. In 2018 I qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser with the Institute of Chartered taxation business,- the highest tax qualification available in England and Wales. I became a Court of Protection panel deputy in 2015 which enables me to manage the financial affairs of people who are unable to manage the same for themselves. In January 2018 I became a Director of Solicitors for the Elderly and in June 2019 I took over as Chairman of the organisation.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I grew up in Southampton and wanted to be close to home but within reach of central London. Kingston had and still has a very good reputation for law.

What are your best memories from your student days at Kingston?

The wonderful people I met from all parts of the world, celebrating exam results at the bar known as PBs on the River Thames that sadly doesn't seem to exist anymore

Are you still in touch with anyone from your Kingston days?

Yes but sadly only one or two people these days.

Have you been back to Kingston since graduating? If so, what for?

Other than to catch up with old friends I have been to the Crown Court on occasion and have acted for a couple of clients in the area.

What did you expect to do after graduating? Are you still doing that now?

My initial plan was to qualify as a solicitor and to go straight to law school and at university I fully expected to become a criminal law solicitor but having worked in this area in the summer between years I found this really wasn't for me at all.

Not knowing what area to specialise in I then felt I wanted to try something new hence not going into law straight away. I definitely made the right decision to return to that career choice however.

What's your greatest achievement?

I think becoming a Chartered Tax Adviser because it was such a difficult qualification especially when combined with working full time running a team of lawyers.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Reassurance that had work can really open doors and if you want something to not let anything or any set back, get in your way.

What advice would you give to current students on the Law programme at Kingston?

Get some work experience at local law firms and try to experience as many different areas of law as you can. If this is out of reach try to get some work experience in field relevant to the area of law you might want to practice in such as care homes or hospitals for private client or personal injury work or businesses/banking for commercial work. Think about ways you can differentiate yourself from your competitors ,for training contracts - what extra study or qualifications can you do to set you up for your career i.e. public speaking and legal marketing courses.

Tell us something no one would guess about you.

In my spare time I enjoy snowboarding and to run Spartan Obstacle Course races. This isn't necessarily expected of an elderly client and tax law specialist.

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