Alex Boothman | BA History, 2008 | Founder, MyLegalAdvisor
“My why… is to democratise the law and ensure that justice is available to everyone.”
Why did you choose Royal Holloway for your degree?
Like most people I know, my mind was pretty much made up the first time I set eyes on the magnificent Founder’s Building. Walking around the campus though, it became clear that not only did Royal Holloway have beautiful grounds but there was also a great atmosphere. I really wanted a campus university, ideally close to London, and Royal Holloway fit the bill perfectly.
What did you study and what was it about the subject that interested you?
I studied History, specialising in the Crusades. I’d always enjoyed History at school and, given I was considering a career in law, I figured I would learn all the soft skills I needed whilst getting to study a subject I loved. History is really just a collection of stories and I’ve always found it fascinating to read those stories and learn how people thousands of years ago shaped the world we live in today. It wasn’t until I started studying under the great Jonathan Phillips that I realised just how much I enjoyed medieval history and the Crusades.
As a student, what did you hope to achieve in the future?
Like most students, my main goal at university was to figure out what I wanted to do with my life! I’d always been keen on law, so my main goal after leaving university was to qualify as a solicitor. Once I got there, I figured I’d work out what my next steps would be. Law is a vast and varied field with all sorts of roles to choose from. I knew that once I qualified I’d be able to help people in whatever role I chose, all I had to do was get there!
Where has your career taken you since university?
After leaving Royal Holloway in 2008, I spent two years studying law at BPP in London. Whilst studying, I was fortunate enough to meet a partner starting his own law firm who offered me some work experience. The firm specialised in advising private clients on how to manage their personal affairs. A week’s work experience eventually turned into a training contract and I qualified as a solicitor in 2013. I really enjoyed the work I was doing, it was challenging and helping clients was very rewarding. In 2014 I was named as one of the top 35 private client practitioners under the age of 35, which was a great moment and really drove home how much I wanted to help clients. Once I qualified, I was constantly getting asked by my friends and acquaintances for advice and help finding a suitable lawyer. That was when I realised many clients really struggle to find a lawyer in the UK. In 2015, left the firm to start my own business, an online legal marketplace called MyLegalAdviser, where I currently work full time.
What difference do you think you are making?
Research has shown that 1 in 3 people who need legal help don’t look for it because they aren’t sure if a lawyer can help and/or they’re worried about how expensive a lawyer will be. With three in four people having no idea what lawyers do and very few existing solutions helping clients to find the help they need, I’m really proud to say that our business is helping to make a difference for people who need legal help but have no idea where to look.
Have you achieved what you wanted to by this point or made the impact you hoped to make?
I’m getting there…there’s still a lot of work to do and goals / aspirations change as you progress. Ask me again in ten years!
How do you feel going to Royal Holloway helped you to find your ‘why’?
Royal Holloway didn’t just give me the grades I needed to study law, it gave me the skills and the confidence to start a demanding career and to launch my own business. I’m hugely grateful for the time I spent at Royal Holloway and the person it helped shape me into. Access to justice is a universal right, but it’s a right that very few understand or can afford access to. My purpose is to democratise the law and ensure that justice is available to everyone