Gemma OspedaleCareer transition

Gemma is a Partner in a city law firm specialising in employment law. Her previous career was in racing until deciding on a career change in the mid- 90s. Having always had a love of racing, she went straight from school to working on studs and then did the National Stud Diploma course in 1989, following which she worked for Weatherbys for 5 ½ years in the studbook department. As well as handling all paperwork for horses going into and out of the country to race, sell and breed, and registration of foals, she also ran the sales team which manned the Weatherbys office at Newmarket, spending the sales season attending the various sales as the studbook Department representative.

Aware of the limited opportunities at that time to develop a career within racing, she took the decision to do a law degree, having come from a legal background. She did this part time over four years whilst continuing to work full-time, initially at Weatherbys, and subsequently in varying roles between recruitment, the House Lords, and a brief flirtation with a start-up company rolling out sponsorship for owners for VAT purposes.

She commenced a training contract with the firm in which she has remained throughout her legal career and now, with the merger of that firm with another, is working with Andrew Chalk to expand her employment practice into the racing and bloodstock industry. Gemma has an in-depth knowledge of the racing industry as well as first-hand experience of changing careers and the difficulties this can pose, as well as the benefits once achieved.