Practice area: Finance
What attracted you to your role at Macfarlanes?
I joined Macfarlanes in December 2018. The feedback I’d received from individuals who had experience of working at Macfarlanes told me that it was a great place to work. This was reinforced by the friendly and personal nature of the recruitment process which included having a coffee with one of the finance partners and a Coca-Cola in the pub with another partner in the team, who were both extremely welcoming and supportive of my career aspirations.
What was your experience when you first joined Macfarlanes? How were you supported?
I joined Macfarlanes when I was pregnant and there was a huge amount of support from everyone at the firm. It was something that many would be apprehensive about, however the partners and the team reassured me completely. On my first day, I received a buddy in my team which was really helpful as she introduced me to everyone in my team as well as her existing network in the firm. There is also a wide support network for those with caring responsibilities within the firm – I was even allocated coaches who specialise in the transition into and out of parental leave.
I love the fact that the team are enormously supportive of my role at The Law Society and have found ways that I can incorporate it into the work I do. This support extends to senior management, illustrated by the fact that soon after joining the firm, the senior partner at the time, Charles Martin, invited me for a coffee to talk about my work with The Law Society and offered to be a sounding board for me.
How did you integrate/develop a network?
It was easy for me to build a rapport with colleagues as people are so friendly and you get to know people just as you pass in the corridors. During lockdown we have also developed a variety of different virtual networks to get involved in, including virtual lunches for those that have joined the firm or returned from maternity leave during lockdown. I have also taken part in some more formal initiatives such as the MacsMentor scheme, where I mentor someone from a different team.
A personal tip from me on networking is, if I am working on a deal and I haven’t yet met someone from the deal team, I like to pop into their office to introduce myself or (alternatively during lockdown) give them a call.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The real estate finance deals that I work on are often complex and require input from my counterparts in different teams across the firm and I cherish the opportunity to be able to work with different people across all levels of seniority. The most interesting aspect of any deal I work on is usually the asset that is being financed. Being able to walk around London knowing what the property’s look like from the inside is fascinating. I also really like the fact that the firm is supportive of what sort of work you want to focus on and any initiatives you want to bring to the table.
Can you tell us about your role within the Law Society?
I am a Council member at the Law Society, the representative body for all solicitors in England and Wales and I am the representative voice for 75,000 constituents. I input on the direction of travel for important issues to the profession. In 2020, I was appointed to the Board of The Law Society, being ranked as the youngest person to hold this position, alongside people in management positions at other law firms. I oversee the governance of the profession focusing on equality, diversity, inclusion, social mobility and the funding of it as well as the wellbeing of junior lawyers. One of the great things about The Law Society is that it gives you a platform to campaign on the issues important to you. Two years ago, I ran a ‘healthy drinking culture’ campaign which was about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to select alcohol free drinks at events.
How do you juggle this with a busy role at Macfarlanes?
Being able to delegate work when I can and having a good up-to-date diary keeps me organised. I carve out time in my diary for my role at Macfarlanes as well as for matters related to The Law Society. Importantly, I also block out 6pm to 7pm in my diary most days to ensure that I can do bath and story time with my toddler and put her to bed.
What advice would you give to someone considering a change in their legal career?
Talk to as many people as you can. Talk to people who are working at the place where you are thinking of going, talk to people who would have worked with people there and get as many different views as possible. Look at where you want to be in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time and whether that place fits in with your long-term career goals. Look at the company’s website and the employees that work there and reach out to introduce yourself – I’m always delighted if someone reaches out to me to ask about the firm.
The feedback I’d received told me that Macfarlanes was a great place to work. This was reinforced by the recruitment process with partners who were both extremely welcoming and supportive of my career aspirations.