University: Cardiff University
Year of qualification: 2017
Position: Managing associate
What attracted you to a career in law?
I first considered the idea of a career in law during school. I was attracted to the specific skills required to analyse and advise on the UK legal framework, navigate and negotiate complex documents and problem solve. When I chose to study law at university, it felt like a good option that would provide a strong foundation even if I later decided that law wasn’t for me. However, I really enjoyed my law degree and haven’t looked back since then!
Why solicitor not barrister?
I did undertake a mini-pupillage in Manchester while studying law at university. Although I valued the experience, I was drawn more to the non-contentious/transactional areas of law (in particular, corporate). I also enjoyed the idea of working cohesively in a team rather than as an independent practitioner, which is more typical of a barrister. Having said that, shadowing a barrister was a great experience and I’d encourage students to have an open mind and look at both career paths before making a decision, even if they do have a leaning towards one or the other.
Which departments did you train in?
I undertook seats in corporate, real estate and commercial (in-house secondment). I’d worked as a paralegal in the employment team before starting my training contract so already had some experience in that field. My secondment was in the legal team of a large retail client. It gave me a better understanding of what clients really value from their lawyers and it also provided me with a wider training in other areas of law such as real estate and litigation. The biggest adjustment during the secondment was not having to time record, which certainly felt strange at first (and was something that had become second nature to me as a trainee!).
Please outline your area of expertise. What might you do in a typical day?
I work in a corporate team of around 30 lawyers and undertake a wide range of corporate and corporate finance work including M&A, private equity, fundraising and joint ventures. One thing I really enjoy about being a corporate lawyer is how varied my day is. I might spend the morning on an all-parties call leading negotiations for our client on a purchase agreement and then revising a key issues list to circulate to the parties. My afternoon might involve advising a company on a fundraising round, working on a share capital table and drafting investment documents to circulate to the investors in respect of that funding round. I also spend time project managing M&A transactions. For example, this might involve pulling together input from various internal specialist teams on a due diligence report or engaging local counsel in another jurisdiction to carry out a discrete piece of work on a transaction.
What do you most/least enjoy about your career and why?
I really enjoy advising on M&A deals across a range of sectors. Advising a client on a sale or purchase usually involves spending time speaking to management and reviewing relevant documents to really understand how the business operates. No two businesses or clients are the same and it’s a great challenge to understand how the business operates, identify risks or diligence gaps, and find solutions to identified issues. You could be advising on the sale of a technology company one week and then advising the buyer of a luxury chocolate company the next. Working in corporate does inevitably lead to longer hours at certain points compared to other areas of law but transactions tend to ebb and flow and so you can still find a work/life balance.
How involved are you with business development and promoting the firm?
Associates are encouraged to attend and engage in business development activities, and it’s a part of the job I really enjoy. Examples include monthly business training and networking events with key contacts at other businesses, and getting involved in social and sports events with clients and other local businesses, such as golf and cricket days. Working in M&A also has its perks, with completion lunches with clients, internal teams and other advisers being a particularly popular way to celebrate closing a deal!
What makes your firm stand out from the rest?
The firm has a fantastic culture that's very collaborate and supportive. It genuinely does focus on and prioritise staff wellbeing and, as someone who has two young children, it makes a big difference working at a place that provides that level of understanding and support. The office underwent a full refurbishment in 2023 and is a great place to work and socialise with colleagues (including the odd game of table football or table tennis!).
What advice do you have for budding solicitors who are contemplating a career in law?
My advice would be to take any opportunity to gain work experience in a legal setting in the early stages. Studying the theory is important but, in terms of deciding on a future career and whether a job as a solicitor is for you, work experience is a great way to consider whether it feels like the right choice. It also helps to show prospective employers that you’re taking initiative and have a genuine interest in law.
What’s your favourite TV show/movie?
Friends – it's one of those series that I keep rewatching but the jokes never get old!