Stephanie Perraton

LLB Law (Hons)

After being offered a last-minute place to join Birmingham Polytechnic, now BCU, Stephanie embraced the Law course and is now a Partner and Consultant at Squire Patton Boggs, alongside working as the former President of Birmingham Law Society. But working in a ‘man’s world’ and being the first in her family to attend university were challenges she faced on her journey to success.  

“I originally applied to do English and History at university, but after applying and just before sitting my A-Levels, I decided I wanted to be a Lawyer. But unfortunately, I didn’t get the grades I’d need to do a law degree.

I started doing work experience at a firm, Williamson & Soden, that summer, and the senior partner wrote to every university and polytechnic in the country to try and find me a place whilst I was looking to resit my exams and reapply later.

A week into the new term, I received a telephone call from one of the lecturers at what was then Birmingham Polytechnic, asking if I could attend an interview within the hour as a place had become available. It was fate. I never looked back and started at Birmingham Poly a week later.

I continued to work at Williamson & Soden during my studies, but upon qualification, I moved to Wragge & Co, now Gowling WLG, to continue my career. I was later head hunted to join Edge Ellison, now Squire Patton Boggs, in 1992, and I’ve been there ever since.

Nowadays I’m a consultant, heading up the licensing team, and I have been a partner for over 25 years, which is one of my greatest achievements.

I deal with all things hospitality related, so no two days are ever the same for me. My expertise covers all aspects of licensing, including alcohol, entertainment and late-night food sales. I’ve been described as a bit of a “one-stop shop” for clients.

Alongside this, from September 2021 to September 2022, I became President of Birmingham Law Society, the largest regional society of its kind, after being Vice-President.

For me, the main challenge in my journey was being told by my teachers and peers that women didn't become lawyers. No one in my family had ever gone to university, so I didn't really know what to expect, and I lived at home, so I didn’t really get the full student experience either. But I wanted to be a solicitor, and going to university was the only way I could become one.

Since then, being a woman in a man’s world, and juggling various things such as being both a mum and a partner in a large law firm, have been difficult to navigate too.

Now, I’m looking forward to retirement after a long, successful career!

For those considering studying Law at BCU, I would say make sure it is what you really want to do and embrace the opportunities that are offered to students these days, get work experience whether paid or not as it will give you a valuable insight into your chosen career.

I am proud that BCU, or Birmingham Poly in my day, gave me a chance. I think, given my achievements to date, I have not let them down!”