Associate Solicitor Shara Pledger has been with Latitude Law for 10 years. Here, we catch up with her about the type of work she does; how she has found working under lockdown; and the best piece of advice she has ever been given.
Hello Shara! What type of work do you do at Latitude?
At Latitude we don’t focus solely on one area, so I have a mixed caseload including business immigration and personal applications. However, my particular specialism is the economic immigration routes, and I have a lot of experience with workers and sponsorship, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and those with exceptional talent.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
It’s great to speak to and meet lots of people from all different walks of life. Everyone has their own story to tell and it’s really motivating to play a small part in someone’s story.
What questions or concerns do clients frequently raise in your practice area?
Clients often are very apprehensive about making their application; the Immigration Rules aren’t very user-friendly, with requirements split across different documents and resources. People are extremely cautious about being refused, as they should be; these are important and expensive applications to make. I consider it my job to help people to navigate the rules safely and with confidence, and in a way that they find understandable (rather than just trusting me that I’m doing the right thing).
Is there a particular client outcome (or type of outcome in general) of which you’re most proud of having achieved?
I’m thrilled with every positive decision, but I’ve always really enjoyed working with candidates in the Exceptional Talent (now called the Global Talent visa) route. They are such a diverse group of people, with fascinating ideas and plans for their time in the UK. Receiving endorsement on an application means opening the door for someone who will really enrich the UK, and that’s very exciting.
What are some of the adaptations you’ve had to make to keep working and helping clients effectively during the course of this year?
When the lockdown began in March, I moved to work exclusively from home, which was a little jarring at first but soon became the norm. I think the biggest challenge has been keeping abreast of updates so I can manage clients’ expectations successfully. Unfortunately, we’re seeing lots of delays in the processing of applications, but that’s tolerable when people know what to anticipate.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Not to go food shopping if you’re hungry.
What do you enjoy doing away from work?
I love going to the cinema, so am looking forward to that reopening from lockdown. I also enjoy walking in the countryside, and swimming in my local pool.