Straight-talking Lauren Riley may not have won Lord Sugar’s heart but her determination and effort are opening many doors
With his Marmite approach, Lord Sugar may have missed an opportunity with The Apprentice contestant Lauren Riley when he uttered the infamous, ‘You’re fired’ in last year’s show. At 29, the family lawyer is set to revolutionise the legal profession with the launch of The Link App, which keeps lawyers in regular contact with their clients. Riley is already in talks with five investors interested in the app, at a figure that outstrips the show’s £250k prize.
“The Link App was born out of my experience as a lawyer,” Riley explains. “It’s a constant frustration among lawyers that so much time is wasted trying to connect with clients to ensure that everyone is informed. I thought that technology could improve the situation and, although I’m a lawyer first and foremost, this has taken me into the field of technology. “I’ve already had requests from different professions to adapt the same technological solution and I do think the app has the potential to grow globally too.”
Having provided news commentary on Divorce Day earlier this year, Riley’s glamorous image lends itself to television work, and the parallels between presenting to camera and in the courtroom haven’t gone unnoticed. Invitations to celebrity parties and London Fashion Week are an indicator that Riley has the potential to crossover into media. For now, she continues to work at a legal firm while developing her app.
“As a child I wanted to be a barrister,” she says, “and, while my parents encouraged me, later at university, lecturers tried to warn me off what is a hugely competitive field. That was like a red rag to a bull and I was determined to achieve my goal. It took a lot of hard work but I’m proud of my achievement – I enjoy thinking on my feet in court.
“On The Apprentice I went in with a different attitude to the other contestants. I am a professional and I’ve worked hard to succeed in my own right. I wasn’t prepared to compromise who I am. It was a fantastic opportunity but it was a small part of my life. I was serious about the competition, as I am about everything I do, and I was passionate and worked hard but it wasn’t the right path for me.
“The show did teach me a lot about myself. Divorce lawyers typically get a bad rap, and while I am straightforward and to the point, I also learnt that I’m a nice person. I had such good reactions from the public who recognised my integrity, professionalism, business acumen, and how hard I’ve worked to get where I am.”
Riley’s determination is evident in every aspect of her life. A self-confessed fitness fanatic, she shares her love of kettle bell workouts and detox drinks with fans via social media. “I am a perfectionist in all aspects of my life,” says Riley. “If my head is into something I will work really hard at it – I want to give my workouts the most effort, I want to succeed with my business, I want to go to the best parties – it’s who I am.” For Riley, there is no doubt that the results of her determination will bring even greater reward yet.
Family lawyer Lauren Riley’s divorce advice
The first day back to work in January sadly sees the most calls to lawyers to initiate divorce proceedings. The holidays are often seen as the time for ‘one more effort’ by many couples, and for some it’s a breaking point. Family lawyer Lauren Riley says that while prenuptial agreements are a US invention, they are increasingly recognised by UK and Welsh courts and there is a growing interest among clients as they do have a value should the worst occur.
For couples in crisis, Riley advises them to get help as early as possible to structure things financially and avoid long, protracted and costly litigation, particularly when children are involved.
Additionally, Riley urges couples to instruct the right legal team. A member of Relate, she recommends finding a lawyer who is part of the conciliation body, again to protect children from conflict and to avoid unnecessary distress at such a difficult time.
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