Life during law: Leona Ahmed

Life during law: Leona Ahmed

My dad was born in Kashmir and was in the Pakistani Air Force, posted to Turkey. India and Pakistan were separating and he decided he wouldn’t go back. He moved to the UK and met my mum at night school. She worked in a biscuit factory when I was a kid and was all about, ‘You’re going to do better than this.’

I didn’t start working life as a lawyer. I’m Asian and started in retail – freshly-squeezed orange juice and health food products. My dad wasn’t impressed. He was first generation here and said: ‘This is a fantastic country with great opportunities, I did not come here for you to be another Asian shopkeeper.’ Continue reading “Life during law: Leona Ahmed”

Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber

Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber

‘I wrote my own resignation letter twice in the first six months,’ Matt Wilson, Uber’s associate general counsel (GC) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says. ‘I didn’t hand it in either time, but it was close.’

A frank, but not surprising, admission. Wilson has, in the view of one peer, had one of the most difficult jobs in the GC community since he became the ridesharing company’s first domestic UK lawyer back in 2015. Continue reading “Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber”

Life during law: Mike Francies

Life during law: Mike Francies

I was probably the world’s worst children’s entertainer. I needed a Saturday job to earn money but played football on Sunday mornings and rugby on Saturday mornings. A friend had a business that did magic tricks for children’s parties and I could fit the job around the sport. No, I didn’t dress up as a clown. I might have been a bit of a clown, but I didn’t dress up as one! I was the person at whom the children shouted: ‘I know how you’re doing that trick!’

They gave you a Fisher Price magic set. My stage name was Roger because they already had a Michael. I’m amazed you managed to find out about this – I thought it was quite a well-kept secret! Continue reading “Life during law: Mike Francies”

Life during law: Simon Konsta

Life during law: Simon Konsta

My father is Greek, my mother was English. There’s been no law in the family, much more of a trading background on my father’s side. But there is a wonderful circularity between his old Greek shipping mates that would be in my environment as a child, and the fact that Clyde & Co is the world’s number one marine firm.

I had an open mind going into articles. I was lucky to have a seat in Paris, which is disputes and arbitration. A combination of that plus the domestic disputes work I did, I just preferred it to corporate or real estate. Continue reading “Life during law: Simon Konsta”

Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air

Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air

‘My husband has virtually no understanding of what I do,’ admits BAE Systems Air chief counsel Julie Smyth. ‘He thinks I sit in meetings all day.’

Secrecy and security at the £18bn defence multinational is paramount. Its mammoth Warton airfield base, which dominates the village of the same name a short drive from Preston, is classified as a ‘List X’ site, meaning it can hold UK Government information considered ‘secret’ and above. Continue reading “Client profile: Julie Smyth, BAE Systems Air”

Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle

Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle

The London office of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is exactly what you would expect from one of the UK’s largest and most high-profile fintech businesses.

Open-plan, has meeting rooms with names like ‘Borough Market’, and staff play table tennis as you walk into reception. It feels like a fun place to work. Continue reading “Client profile: Martin Cook, Funding Circle”

Life during law: Richard Crump

Life during law: Richard Crump

Never wanted to be a lawyer. I was persuaded to read law at Oxford by my school. I wanted to do history. Hated law at university. Wasted my time. I was lectured by the great and good but didn’t find it interesting. The one interesting course was on international trade, which was given by a guy called Francis Reynolds. Also a guy that tutored me at college, Peter Gross, who later became a Lord Justice of Appeal, they kindled that interest for me.

When I joined Holman Fenwick & Willan, as it was then known, my intention was to get my two years’ articles and do something else. Continue reading “Life during law: Richard Crump”

Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American

Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American

Shortly before Richard Price went in-house as group general counsel (GC) and company secretary at Anglo American, the legal team’s headcount was cut in half. This was not coupled with a reduced workload, however. Expectations remained the same.

Quite a platform for Price, a former external adviser to the company as Shearman & Sterling’s co-head of mining and metals, to find his feet in-house after more than 20 years in private practice. Continue reading “Client profile: Richard Price, Anglo American”