A budding hairdresser from Flint who had her head turned by Nineties TV shows Cracker and Ally McBeal has instead carved out a career as a successful lawyer.
Now Sally Johnson has joined fast-growing North Wales and Cheshire law firm Swayne Johnson as part of their private client team.
The Welsh-speaking mum of two swapped a career of layers, fringes and framing for one of wealth management, wills, trusts and probate but she has no regrets.
Sally, 47, born and bred in Flint, said: “From a young age I only ever wanted to be a hairdresser and I said that all the way through school at Maes Garmon in Mold but when I did reasonably well in my GCSEs my mum pestered me and I eventually agreed to do A-levels.
“That included A-level Law at Deeside College and then the TV show Cracker came on with Robbie Coltrane and that changed my thinking so I went to Bangor University to study Criminology and Sociology.
“Then I saw the American TV show Ally McBeal about a young female lawyer and I thought that looked a glamorous life and a chat with someone in a pub where I was working ended up with work experience and a training contract with law firm George Wallace Solicitors in Ellesmere Port.”
Sally, whose husband, Gareth, is a scaffolding inspector and supervisor in the building industry and who qualified at the College of Law in Christleton, has concentrated on private client work ever since with firms in Chester and the Wirral, most recently with Jackson Lees in Heswall for the last 12 years.
She said: “It’s a very rewarding area. You are often working with people with whom you can form a real bond but it is important to have a real depth and understanding of the law.
“Swayne Johnson are a firm that appreciates that technical knowledge and experience because the most important part of the job is knowing the law and being able to apply it for your client.
“They often have their own idea of what they want and you have to have that understanding of the law in order to give them the best advice for them, especially in this day and age when people often have quite complex family arrangements.
“I do like client contact and this is a very personal area of the law so you can often be dealing with people going through challenging times such as the loss of a loved one and being able to help them through that can be very heart-warming and rewarding.
“You can find that you have a client coming into the office with a bunch of flowers to say thank you and you don’t get that in many areas of the law and you don’t often deal with three different generations of a family over the years.
“It’s the personal element of what we do and how we can help people that I like – you can see you’re making a positive difference in their lives.”
Sally, whose sons are 16 and 13, enjoys yoga and walking the family dog and is looking forward to using her Welsh language skills again after spending her career over the border.
Lynette Viney-Passig, Swayne Johnson Director and of Head of the Private Client department, said: “We’re delighted to make another high calibre appointment in Sally as we continue to expand our offer to clients.
“We offer a comprehensive range of services across a wide area of law and we have the kind of high quality expertise that means clients don’t need to look to firms from outside the area for the legal skills they need.
“At Swayne Johnson we believe in building relationships with the people who come through our doors and providing them with the reassurance that they’re dealing with people who know and understand them and those are qualities that Sally brings to her role.”
For more on Swayne Johnson go to http://www.swaynejohnson.com/