Gemma Crompton joined Stephensons Solicitors LLP in 2010 as a graduate paralegal. She secured a training contract in 2013 and qualified into the clinical negligence team in 2015.
In 2017 and 2018 Gemma spent four months exploring Asia as part of Stephensons’ sabbatical scheme available to everyone at the firm with 2 years service.
"I didn't take a gap year and instead focused all my energy on completing my studies and later, securing a training contract with Stephensons. I love to travel but taking time out never seemed like the right decision at the time. I have always been dedicated to my career at Stephensons and leaving all this behind to travel would have been very difficult. But to my great surprise the firm introduced a new scheme whereby all employees are eligible to apply for a career break for up to 12 months.
"I was able to take four months off work to travel around Asia with my partner. We visited India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Japan and Cambodia. I am so very pleased to have had the opportunity to stop time and experience so many different cultures.
"Altogether I was away from the office from September all the way to January. I was able to hand my work over to colleagues who were nothing but supportive, as was my manager. I have now returned home to slightly cooler climates and settled back to work as if I had never been away. I really appreciate the support from the team which made my career break happen.
"I feel fortunate to work for a firm which supports everyone in their traditional roles as well as appreciating the value of experiences gained outside of the working environment. I have been able to continue with my career as if I had never spent the time out of the office.
"Not only have the experiences of the past four months expanded my mind, I also feel valued and appreciated by my firm".
Janine Turner, Head of HR at Stephensons: "Sabbaticals and career breaks cannot be underestimated when it comes to ensuring everyone within the firm feels valued and appreciated. We are committed to practices and policies which support a healthy work-life balance. Whether it is the introduction of flexible working practices or opportunities to work off site".
For more information on life at Stephensons visit www.stephensons.co.uk/careers.