4 Steps from Actress to Property Law in London & Dubai

BNI Go-Getter Emma Sear treads the boards to Property Law

Emma Sear full pic

BNI Central London Female Go-Getter Series





Almost 5 years ago, then with 6 years in Residential Property Law under her belt, Emma Sear, now Property Lawyer and Managing Associate, joined  International Law Firm Trowers & Hamlins, completing the leap from High Street law to The City of London.

“I’m so lucky to work in a very diverse Law Firm, led by a very strong female senior partner, but early in my law-career, the pressures of balancing single-parenting and work were often near overwhelming”

Emma Sear’s route to Law is less than typical.  She take us on her journey.

The adventure kicks off with Emma’s sights well and truly fixed on life on the Stage; to which end it was The Guildhall School of Music & Drama at which she studied to become an actress.


It comes as a complete surprise for all of us, when we’re knocked off track in life. None less-so for Emma when, after the birth of her daughter and as a single parent, that rat-a-tat-tat of change, knocked loudly at her door.

Fairly quickly, it became evident to Emma, that a sensible job was to be a necessity.  An unmitigated ‘Exit Stage Left’ and her commendable crossing to Law commenced.

Step by Step she she moved along her path to Lawyer.  It would be 6 years before Emma  qualified and a further 11 years to arrive at where she is today.  That’s some mapped-out trip.

Emma describes it as a 4 step process..

Step 1:  enrols into an adult education class in computer skills in order to get a job as a paralegal in a small conveyancing Law Firm

Step 2:  (a year later) when her daughter was 4 years old, she heads off to Law School:  2 nights a week for 4 years – all the while, working full time.

Step 3: then came a further 2 years of practical training

Step 4:  Yayyy… in 2006, Emma qualified.

“Working full time, studying law and raising a small girl was really tough. 

Money was tight.  My starting salary was £12k and I had little financial support.

I came out with great grades, huge debts (now all paid off) and somehow managed to bring up a wonderful daughter.  

Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I managed it all.”

That was indeed a marathon journey.  The terrain was rough, but Emma Sear is very clearly  made of stern stuff.  Today, Emma is a proud single mum and an 11 years highly-experienced Property Lawyer.

The experience upon which Emma can call, is extensive.

…she’s learned all about buildings and buying and selling them and has dealt with the full gambit of residential Property Law….

  • General domestic to large scale developments
  • Helping clients and their lenders with  complex and high value central London properties
  • A portfolio of International clients whom she steers through the complexities of buying, selling and refinancing in the UK, from abroad.

And what about STEP 5 of the Journey. What’s next?

Stairs 2 - Begur

In her dreams, Emma has won the Lottery and started her own high-value property portfolio.

Of course there’s a back up dream where she’s made Partner at her firm and has a thriving portfolio of great clients here in the UK and internationally.

My gut feel is that either or both of these dreams will materialise for Emma and I’ll be changing the title of the next article to 5 steps to Partner (or property magnate)


You’ve been hand-picked as one of BNI’s Female Go-Getters.  What part has BNI played in your success?

I’ve only been a part of  BNI for 2 years.  I visited BNI Platinum (Mayfair) Chapter and liked what I saw.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would work for me, but thought it was worth giving it a try”

“Little did I know what an impact it would make” 

We have offices in the Middle East but we were not well-known within the ex-pat community.  Few seemed aware that we had lawyers on the ground there in Dubai.

“For a while I’ve been concentrating on raising my profile with investors from Dubai.  BNI opened doors for me.

Being a global organisation with chapters virtually in every major city, I decided to on each trip out there, to take in a BNI Meeting.

It worked in triplicate

1) I found many opportunities to work with expats on their UK property investments.

2) through an introduction from a visitor to our meetings, I formed a relationship with a company who help international clients find investment properties.  Together we put on a successful seminar in Dubai which was well attended and as a result, my colleagues and I are now working on several projects in the UK and in Dubai and

3) as a company, we have raised our profile to a new level

Q: What advice would you give anyone considering joining BNI?

  • If you are serious about growing your business network and are prepared to put in some time and effort, then BNI is definitely worth a go.

I went in with both feet.  I was VP of my chapter last year and am President this year.

  • Don’t expect to make money immediately. You need to develop relationships with your members and other chapters
  • Choose your chapter carefully. Visit a few. See which one ‘gells’ for you.  It’s not all about the number of members either.  In BNI, your next ‘greatest referral’ will probably come from the most unlikely source.  I’ve been consistently amazed by who my fellow members have in their network

 Q: What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?

You never know what curve balls life is going to throw at you, but no matter what or when, you will come through stronger, braver and better for it.

Q: Who has inspired/influenced you – personally and/or professionally?

My parents are both very hard working.  They taught me to graft and to believe that I can be anything I want to be, if I put my mind to it.

Bringing up my daughter and speaking with other children, I was surprised how many don’t have a dream of what they want to be.  My parents encouraged me to dream and taught me that together with their support I’d get there.

That is perhaps the greatest gift and inspiration any parent can give.

Emma Sear cropped by meEmma Sear of Trowers & Hamlins who have offices UK wide, in the Middle East and South East Asia, is based in the City – Moorgate.

You can connect with Emma on LinkedIn | Twitter and to take a look BNI Platinum (Mayfair), click here

BNI London HUB |30+ groups across London    

Follow/engage with us: TwitterFacebook |Instagram  | Website

visit a group today

If you’re a Go-Getter (male or female of course) who wants to do more business in London, VISIT one of our 30+ Groups to find out what BNI can do for you and your business.

Visitors are always welcome at our weekly breakfast and lunch meetings.

CALL Amanda on 01923-777071 or email her amanda@bnidirector.com and she’ll find the right group for your profession/location.

Read our spotlighted Go-Getters’ stories (and their views on BNI) here:

  1. Catherine Baudino PhD, MNCP, FRS  | Business & Personal Coach
  2. Saskia Johnston      | Forex, Sable International
  3. Elizabeth Marsh     | Floral Designer
  4. Giulia Remondino  | Genius in 21 Days Memory Techniques
  5. Zoe Clews                | Harley Street Hypnotherapist
  6. Dee Burrowes         | MINDSET Strategist
  7. Beverley Corson     | Business Growth Programme
  8. Emma Sear              | Property Lawyer
  9. Kate Ketzel              | Norland Nannies of  Live-in Care
  10. Laura Hurren         | BNI’s female-focus initiative is the brainchild of BNI UK Executive Director and Referral Marketing aficionado.  Laura heads up BNI London Hub.  Follow Laura on Twitter@LauraHurren_BNI | Connect with her on LinkedIn

Author:  Elizabeth J Floyd is a Strategist: Business, Online and Social Media… who does a bit of writing too.  Connect on LinkedIn | Twitter | Check out #LizzieJsTopTips on Twitter


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