When I was 12, I was a competitive swimmer, and I used to swim every morning before school. If you’re swimming that much, your swimsuits get see-through, so for training, sometimes you’d have to wear double swimsuits, and that’s a bit of a drag when you’re in a competition. I’d asked my mum for a new swimsuit, but she said I would have to wait till the end of the month. I asked her how I could become rich to be able to afford a new one. She said: ‘You can become a solicitor, or you can marry someone rich.’ So, from then on, my decision was made to become a lawyer.
I got work experience in a small solicitors’ firm on our high street in Bangor, North Wales, and was focused on doing a law degree. I knew it was very competitive to get a training contract, so I did law and French. Then I got a training contract with Garretts, part of Andersen Legal. Six months into my training contract, DLA took the Leeds office, I transferred, and 23 years later I’m still here! Continue reading “Life During Law: Natasha Luther-Jones”
I head up our criminal defence and police investigations team as well as our sexual misconduct in the workplace practice. I am interested in people, and I guess I am a nosey person.
I decided to become a lawyer because I wanted to have my own voice. In my twenties, I was a team leader in a child protection social services team. I would have done an assessment, done the work, known the family, thought I had made good decisions, but then it would get reinterpreted a couple of times for me. The legal department would say ‘this is what you mean’, then the barrister would say ‘this is what the legal department have told me that you mean’. I thought: ‘Actually – maybe I can say what I mean.’ These people were doing a job that I knew was hard, but nowhere near as hard as turning up to these families’ homes and making decisions about their children. So, I decided to do the conversion and see what would happen. I didn’t know if it would be for me, as I am not the usual type of person that becomes a lawyer. Continue reading “Life During Law: Sandra Paul”
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I was growing up. I went through periods of thinking maybe I’d become an architect. There’s also this amazing magazine in Australia called Gourmet Traveller. It’s about food and travel, and I thought it would be quite nice to be a journalist for them. I still enjoy looking at architecture and I love the built environment, food, and travel.
I had a conversation with the career counsellor at school. She said, if you’re not sure, then law is a great general degree that gives you options for the future. My dad happens to be a lawyer as well, so I had some familiarity with the law. When I started the degree, I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do but I really enjoyed it. I loved the problem solving. Continue reading “Life During Law: Georgia Dawson”
I never thought I would be a lawyer. I’m from Amsterdam, and I did a student traineeship in 1991, which was quite a common thing for Dutch law students back then. It’s like a summer internship at a law firm. I was blown away by Clifford Chance – the dynamism, the people, the quality of the work. I just loved it. I was given the chance to apply for a job to start the year after and I got it. That was quite unusual in those days because the job market wasn’t easy.
If you’d asked me at the age of 23 or 24, I would have said I wanted to go into international relations or business. Before I studied law, I was thinking of going to a university in the US which was strong on international relations, then go and work at an international organisation. My fascination with international relations very much came into force in my former role as senior partner and now as leader of our global ESG board. Continue reading “Life During Law: Jeroen Ouwehand”
I certainly didn’t have a burning desire to be a lawyer from the age of five years old. I definitely wasn’t one of those! I wanted to be an architect but you’ve got to be quite good at maths. I wasn’t.
My parents instilled in me a real work ethic from a young age and forced me to do lots of summer jobs where I learned the value of money. The worst one was probably working at Saxby’s pork pie factory. I was in charge of the jelly gun. Thousands of pork pies would come down a long conveyor belt and I had to put my gun in them and fill them with jelly. That was a challenging job to stay motivated in for sure. That probably put me off pork pies for life. Continue reading “Life During Law: Paul Dolman”
Did I always want to be a lawyer? No. I didn’t think I wanted to sit behind a desk, so that hasn’t really worked out. I thought I might want to do something outdoors, and that hasn’t worked out either. I wasn’t one of these people that knows from the age of two that they’re going to be a forensic pathologist or a marine biologist. When I was at school and then university, my parents were very supportive and said: ‘You don’t need to decide on a career now. You don’t have to have a grand plan.’
I didn’t read law at university. I read philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge. Partly because it was the degree subject I was most interested in and partly because I didn’t want to study any of my school subjects any further. I converted to law a few years later. I think if I’d studied law at university for three years, I might not have become a lawyer. Continue reading “Life During Law: Nick Vamos”
I grew up in a shipbuilding town in the north. Barrow-in-Furness.
Bill Bryson described it as ‘the very worst town in England’. It brought with it a sense of community back in the day. I’m working class and I kind of bring my middle-class self to work.
My mother is only 18 years older than me. My dad worked in the shipyards. He was frequently on strike for months at a time. I remember one summer my mother, who was a lab technician and worked in a school, went to work in the fish and chip shop at the end of the street so that we could have dinner. I grew up in that kind of cauldron of crypto communism. I was disrespectful of authority for authority’s sake.
Continue reading “Life During Law: Karen Seward”
University in my family was always something vocational. I hated science, so that was doctor and vet out the way. I did an accounting internship and found that just a bit dull. That really left law. That was basically it.
Studying law at university was awful. I enjoyed arts subjects at school, history and geography. I quickly realised that, when you’re studying at school, you’re rewarded for creativity. Studying law, you’re not. The first couple of years were just the building blocks of the legal system and it was very much – ‘this is what the rules are, you need to know them and apply them to the facts’. Overall, I’d give it a six out of ten, but the first two years were more like a three out of ten. Continue reading “Life During Law: Robbie McLaren”
I started life in South Africa mainly doing crime and divorce. Knowing something about criminal law, and the cut and thrust of the courtroom, is a good base for anybody who wants to do litigation.
I wanted to go to the Bar but my father was a bank manager in South Africa with a lot of barrister customers who weren’t doing very well so he basically said: ‘You’ll never make it so become a solicitor.’ Both my parents were English, my father was at Dunkirk and was badly wounded and captured so he emigrated to South Africa for health reasons. He was always a pretty strong character and was the sort of man who you couldn’t ignore!
Continue reading “Life during law: Peter Crossley, Squire Patton Boggs”