Yesterday evening, solicitor Kathryn Mason graced the lecture hall of the Queen Mary Law School at their event ‘Sharing the Secrets of Success’. This Russell Group university, where Ayesha Vardag once led a lecture series, has been ranked top in London for law and continues to produce finely polished legal thinkers.
Kathryn converted to law on the Senior Status Law Degree course at Queen Mary following her stint at Cambridge where she read History. Last night’s event gave her a welcomed opportunity to return to her alma mater and offer some words of wisdom to the current law students.
Speaking to a room of eager future solicitors, Kathryn was full of not-so-secret tips on how to make a successful career in law. Her number one piece of advice was to get as much legal experience as possible, but to be careful not to spread yourself too thinly. Kathryn explained that it helps to be clear about your professional ambitions and be targeted in choosing where to apply. Before making an application, she stressed that you must do thorough research so that you can assess why you specifically are suited to the firm but also to ensure that the firm is a good fit for you. Kathryn reminded the audience that, once you’ve passed this stage, the interview starts the second you walk through the door. Be friendly to everyone, not just those interviewing you as, ultimately, if you get the job, you’ll have to get along with everyone. She advised applicants to be honest about their interests, strengths and weaknesses and to avoid old-hat clichés; it may seem self-assuring to fit in with groups of lawyers, but employers are looking for people who stand out from the crowd.
But as focussed as you are on your career goals, it’s important not to lose perspective on your life as a whole. A staunch proponent of spreadsheets, Kathryn suggested that the students prioritise keeping on top of their life admin in the most efficient way possible. Being organised in this way then frees up time for the finer things in life, like spending quality time with family and friends and investing in a well-loved hobby.
On reflecting on her talk, Kathryn commented that she felt “very fortunate” to have finished her qualification, and to have landed in a job that she loves. Thank you to Kathryn for giving a window into her working world, and best of luck to the aspiring Queen Mary students!