- Course: LLB Law
- Company: Watson, Farley & Williams
What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?
I felt that it would be interesting and intellectually challenging, and I had grandiose ideas about changing the world!
As a kid, my journalist father would tell me stories about libel cases, and trials he had covered in the local courts, and it seemed like a career with a lot of variety. I also felt it was a rigorous subject which could be useful in numerous careers, if I changed my mind about being a lawyer.
How would you describe your experience at the University?
I very much enjoyed my time at Leeds. I lived all the way out in Boddington Hall and so have fond memories of the Otley Run – the halls have gone now but I expect the Otley Run continues!
The girls I lived with at Leeds are still my best friends now and we have great memories of the Leeds clubs, learning to Salsa at SalsaSoc while arguing about which of us had to do the man’s part, living on jacket potatoes in the Student Union and seeing some fantastic bands.
Tell us about your career path since graduating.
I joined Clifford Chance as a trainee and qualified into the Asset Finance Department. I then moved to White & Case a few years later and became a partner in 2011, spending three years in the Paris office before coming back to London, where I specialise in rail and aviation finance and leasing.
What does your current role involve?
I act for lenders, operators, lessors and export credit agencies primarily, negotiating and documenting deals which finance the acquisition of high-value moveable assets like rolling stock and aircraft, as well as advising on sales of leasing companies. They are complex cross-border transactions, involving parties in numerous jurisdictions and often multiple sources of financing.
I also advise clients on an ongoing basis once the deal is completed, should any issues arise. As a partner, my role is both a legal one, running transactions, drafting documents and supervising our deal team, but also a business development one.
Tell us about your career.
As a mid-level lawyer, I got asked to go on client secondment for 3 months because they “needed some help with their financing arrangements”. This was a confidential way of saying they were being sold and needed to restructure their corporate and finance arrangements prior to sale. I ended up being seconded to the client for 10 months, during which time I ran the restructuring process from a legal perspective for the client. This was a fantastic opportunity, as it allowed me to take on a lot more responsibility, to really get to know the client, and to see the legal issues we advise on periodically from a day-to-day operational perspective.
I learnt so much during this period, and built relationships with the client team which have persisted through personnel changes and moves to other companies. The transaction was extremely time-intensive and pressured, and for 6 of those months I worked most weekends and many, many late nights. There was a huge amount of satisfaction when the deal completed on time.
Tell us about your recent involvement with the School of Law.
I have been back a couple of times now. The first time was to judge the Law Society debating competition, which White & Case sponsored. The quality of debate was outstanding! Afterwards I got to have dinner with the finalists, and it was great to have the chance to speak with the students about their future plans as well as their studies.
Then later I spoke as part of the Women Breaking Barriers programme – a fantastic initiative which I wish we had had when I was an undergrad.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute in a small way to making students understand what City law is like, and to show them that it is an achievable goal.