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‘If they hadn’t been so negative I wouldn’t have tried as hard'

23rd September 2016 - John Oxley
‘If they hadn’t been so negative I wouldn’t have tried as hard'

Managing director at Vardags, Catherine Thomas, spoke to Wales Online about the lessons she had learned on her rise to being a top international divorce lawyer.  She remarked that I decided I wanted to go into law when I was 10 after taking part in a primary school debate. I really got into it, opening with a long (and probably completely over the top) speech. Afterwards the teacher said I should be a lawyer and the idea stuck with me.

She continued in this goal despite initial discouragement, she explained. The careers advisors told me I should try an easier career than law. I find it deeply depressing that rather than encourage students to push themselves as far as they could, they were advising them to take an easier route. When I told my school I wanted to read law at Oxford I was told it was a waste of an application and I wouldnt get in because of the school to which I went. They refused to look at my application form before I applied or even help me to prepare with a mock interview. It could all have been handled a lot better, but if they hadnt been so negative I probably wouldnt have tried as hard as I did just to prove them wrong.

Catherine was successful in her application to Oxford, laying the foundation for a career in family law, a position she described as complicated and requires me to understand not only family law but also to be able to work with complex business structures, off-shore investments, trusts and tax (to name but a few) which is endlessly interesting.

When asked to advise budding young lawyers in Wales, she said when someone tells you that you cant do something you want to, ignore them. It says much more about them than it does about you.

Catherines interview with the Welsh paper came of the back of being celebrated by Management Today and The Times.

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