LEADING MINDS PODCAST
A space where inspirational lawyers empower others with their strategies for sustainable success in the legal industry
Episode 39: Sharon Banga
Building your personal brand in the legal sector
Sharon Banga, clinical negligence associate at Shoosmiths, joins the Leading Minds Podcast once again, this time to share her experience on building business development skills as a junior lawyer.
Sharon discusses why bringing your personality and personal interests to your role can be so impactful as a lawyer. Sharon also speaks about utilising social media in the early stages of your career for networking, personal brand building and career advancement.
Plus, Sharon shares some great stories from her legal career so far, including a very interesting tale involving two barristers, a Christmas party and a dodgy rendition of 'Mysterious Girl' by Peter Andre!
Episode 38: Chrissie Wolfe
How do you tackle setbacks in the legal profession?
Chrissie Wolfe, Solicitor of the year 2019 and founder of Law and Broader, shares her interesting journey into the legal sector and talks to us about overcoming challenges to find success and happiness in the profession.
Chrissie delves into creating your own definition of success and moulding your career path to help you find fulfilment both personally and professionally. Chrissie also shares her experience with online trolls and how she deals with negative feedback, both in her role as a solicitor and online. We also talk about managing imposter syndrome, developing self awareness and essential strategies to help you manage mistakes in a professional capacity.
Episode 37: Sahar Farooqi
Meeting the emotional demands of the profession
Sahar Farooqi shares his interesting legal journey from qualifying at the bar to becoming a partner at DAC Beachcroft.
Sahar speaks about the impact of the competitive nature of the sector and the balance he has struck to help him thrive within it. He shares his insight into dealing with imposter syndrome and those moments of clarity when you feel you know exactly what you are talking about!
Sahar also speaks about a popular article he wrote on LinkedIn about parenthood and shares why he thinks the emotional insight has proved so popular with those experiencing a similar journey.
Episode 36: Vanessa Challess
Being your authentic self in the legal sphere
This week we speak to the founder of Tiger Law, Vanessa Challess.
Tiger Law has a unique presence and voice in the legal sector and Vanessa shares the story of its formation, plus how it has grown from strength to strength in recent years.
Vanessa speaks about why promoting neurodiversity in the legal profession is so important to her and how being her true self helps her better serve her clients.
Vanessa also shares why she thinks building self awareness is crucial to both you personal and professional success.
Episode 35: Idin Sabahipour
What does commercial awareness even mean?
Idin Sabahipour, CMS trainee and founder of LittleLaw, tells us how commercial awareness came to play such a key role in his career.
Idin shares how LittleLaw started as a project to build his own commercial awareness to increase his chances of being offered a training contract, to a platform which helps thousands of aspiring lawyers and lawyers alike.
Idin also answers the all important question of what commercial awareness actually means and how we can start to build it, no matter what stage of our career we are at.
Episode 34: Sam Dalling
Is showing vulnerability a sign of weakness?
Sam Dalling, a pensions associate at Sackers, talks to us about creating openness around mental health in the legal sector. Earlier this year Sam wrote an article for LawCare sharing his experience with eating disorders and his recovery process.
Sam spoke to us about the impact the article had on both his personal and private life, including the support colleagues and clients showed him.
This positive and inspiring interview is a must-watch.
You can read the articulate and open article here: https://www.lawcare.org.uk/news/mhaw-2019-im-a-30-year-old-man-in-eating-disorder-recovery
Episode 33: Jane Edwarde
How to successfully navigate transition in your legal career
Jane Edwarde, a partner in the real estate team at Slaughter and May, shares how to best navigate the steep career trajectory those joining the legal sector face.
Janes gives her insight into overcoming imposter syndrome and how she values openness in her team. Janes also talks about the pros and cons that have came from WFH, including the impact it can have on work-life balance both now and in the future.
Finally, Jane tells us about her passion for running and how she has put her legal skills to good use writing a mission statement in the hopes of getting a London Marathon place.
Episode 32: Tom Stenner-Evans
Developing your leadership skills to thrive within the legal profession
Tom Stenner-Evans, partner at Thrive Law, talks openly about how he has never been more fulfilled professionally after being forced to re-evaluate his career path in 2020.
Tom shares why he thinks leaders have a responsibility to develop a culture that supports others within a law firm and how as a junior member of the team you can start developing strong leadership skills to help you thrive within the legal sector.
Episode 31: James Kitching
Are you an O-shaped lawyer?
James Kitching, a corporate associate at Womble Bond Dickinson, gives his insight into succeeding in the legal sector by taking a more human, emotionally intelligent approach.
James discusses how commercial awareness and technical excellence are a given in the legal sector, and how focusing on our life experiences and human side can be the key to both thriving and finding fulfilment in our roles.
James also shares how we can embrace our mistakes and failures, with a view to becoming a more rounded professional.
Episode 30: Vanessa Chikaka
How to foster transparency and growth within yourself and the legal sector
Vanessa Chikaka, a qualified competition associate, trainee coach and founder of Felix Diversity Strategists LDN, tells us about her passion for supporting junior lawyers to succeed within the legal sector.
Vanessa shares how, as a black female, she found herself struggling with imposter syndrome and how she focused on building self-belief to overcome this. Vanessa also talks about why knowing who you are and pushing outside of your comfort zone is the key to both personal and professional success.
An open and inspiring conversation that will leave you determined to succeed within the legal profession.
Episode 29: Holly Mieville-Hawkins
Finding your passion within the legal sector
Holly Mieville-Hawkins shares her unconventional journey from first class philosophy student to mental incapacity solicitor at Enable Law. Holly discusses how at just 1 year PQE she came to play a key role in the Wills and Equity Committee at the Law Society, causing her passion for her chosen practice area to grow from strength to strength.
Holly also talks openly about personal challenges she faced during 2020 and the tools she now uses to manage her mental health whilst working in the busy legal sector.
Episode 28: Sarah Walker Smith
Are you ready to be inspired?
For the last episode of 2020 we wanted to go out with a bang, so we invited the incredible Sarah Walker Smith, CEO of Shakespeare Martineau, to talk to us.
Sarah shares her journey to becoming the head of a nationwide law firm, including openly sharing times that self-doubt and imposer syndrome has impacted her as she has progressed her career.
As the first female, non-lawyer CEO in the legal top 50, innovative leader Sarah brings her unique personality to a less than progressive industry, and shares how doing the same will ensure you find lasting happiness both personally and professionally.
Episode 27: Harry Clark
What can you achieve if you set your sights on it?
Baker McKenzie trainee Harry Clark joins us to discuss what led him to launch his highly successful podcast More from Law. From both his personal experience and from interviewing his guests, Harry gives insight into what it takes to successfully gain a training contract in a highly competitive industry.
Harry also shares how meditation has overhauled his productivity and ability to deal with challenges as a trainee solicitor. A motivational must listen for anyone looking to enhance their chances of success within the legal sector.
Episode 26: Mel Chell
Is your law firm the right fit for you?
Mel Chell, a partner and head of asset finance at Shoosmiths, tells us how being comfortable in your environment can be the main driver in progressing your career.
Mel shares how she feels showing vulnerability and your human side is key to building strong relationships with both colleagues and clients alike. She also discusses how showing initiative and being proactive is vital to taking control of your career.
Lastly, Mel talks about how she finds work-life balance and switches off from her intense work demands through open water swimming.
Episode 25: Amy Clowrey
Are you equipped to deal with the stresses of the legal industry?
As an associate specialising in child abuse law, Amy Clowrey of Switalskis Solicitors shares how she deals with emotionally charged situations and the tools she has in place to support both her own and her client's wellbeing. Amy, the immediate past chair of the JLD of the Law Society, openly shares the challenges she has had in her career.
From overcoming a fear of professional speaking to dealing with intense stress, and how she has put in place a solid working practice that supports work life balance, whilst allowing her to thrive within her career.
Episode 24: Richard Seymour
Using a growth mindset to overcome adversity and thrive
Richard Seymour, a former cyclist for Team Wales, shares how he overcame adversity at a young age when an operation left him unable to continue to compete professionally.
He also shares how he used the lessons he learnt in his cycling career to progress in the legal industry.
Richard, now a trainee at Ince, also shares his alternative route into the legal industry and why he thinks asking for guidance and having a strong support system is vital to your success.
Episode 23: Luke Menzies
Is EQ the key to career progression?
Luke Menzies, barrister, solicitor and CEO of his own firm, talks to us about why emotional intelligence is vital to success within the legal profession.
Luke shares his fascinating story, plus delves into why self awareness is the key to success, no matter what stage of your career you are at.
A must watch interview for anyone who wants to take control of their mind-set and positively drive their career.
Episode 22: James Klein
What does it take to make it to the top?
Shoosmiths partner James Klein shares the fascinating journey of his career, from being a paralegal to opening a new office in San Francisco as head of the corporate team and technology team.
James gives insight on how to pick which area of law is best suited to you and why he always listens to junior members of the team when he needs innovative ideas.
He also gives us an insight into the life of a corporate head and shares why establishing your personal brand is key to see you succeed within the legal industry.
Episode 21: Alexandra Aikman
Is your personality your secret weapon for success?
Pinsent Masons associate Alexandra Aikman shares how being comfortable in your own skin is the key to making it in your career.
After being told that the odds were against her due to her background and race by a career advisor Alexandra became determined to make it within the legal industry.
Alexandra talks about embracing diversity and how her life motto #beyoubabe has seen her go from strength to strength in her confidence and her career.
Episode 20: Sana Shafi
Ever feel like you don't fit in within the legal industry?
Sana Shafi, a third seat trainee at Travers Smith and the founder of diversity initiative Strive, joins us for an honest conversation about representation in the City.
Sana shares how common it is to enter the corporate arena and feel like you don’t fit in. She talks about setting up Strive and the work the initiative does to give support and opportunities to those who may otherwise not have a door opened for them.
Episode 19: Jaysen Sutton
Is it normal to have doubts about your career path?
Jaysen Sutton shares how he left his traineeship at Weil to set up The Corporate Law Academy - a business that facilitates others to enter the legal industry.
Jaysen discusses how imposter syndrome and questioning our career choices are perfectly normal within the legal industry.
Jaysen also tells us how self-belief can be the clincher to getting ahead and how meditation is a key tool he uses to support his mind-set.
Episode 18: Kayleigh Leonie
Is stress impacting your career?
Kayleigh Leonie, a senior associate and trustee of LawCare, speaks openly about the impact working within the legal industry can have on our mental health.
Kayleigh speaks about her research with the JLD which showed that 1 in 15 junior lawyers have had suicidal thoughts in the last month. Kayleigh shares why it is vital we open up the lines of communication to support ourselves and others.
Kayleigh also discusses why lockdown has provided a great opportunity for law firms to re-evaluate how they support employee mental health.
Episode 17: Caitlin McFee
What is it really like to be a trainee?
Linklaters NQ Caitlin McFee shares how her expectations of her traineeship measured up to the reality of working in the busy corporate environment. Caitlin speaks openly about how she was signed off from work in her first seat after having an anxiety attack.
Caitlin shares how this challenging first seat experience changed her working relationships for the better and helped her find work life balance to thrive in her career. A must watch for anyone joining the legal industry and for current trainees who want to find more control as a junior member of the team.
Episode 16: Lucy Cole
Are you stuck in a comparison trap?
Third year law student Lucy Cole, the founder of ‘Lucy does law’, shares what inspired her to launch her hugely successful blog and the impact social media has had on her career to date.
Lucy also tells us how to avoid comparing yourself to your peers and how she became part of the team at Grow Mentoring after linking with the founder on Instagram.
Episode 15: Alice Stephenson
Have you got what it takes to start your own law firm?
This week Alice Stephenson, the founder of Stephenson Law, shares with us how she started her own law firm after she couldn’t find a job she enjoyed within the legal industry.
In an industry known for toeing the line, Alice shares how to find your voice and why being yourself at work is fundamental to your long term career success.
Episode 14: Sharon Banga
Thinking outside the box could be the secret to landing your dream job
Sharon Banga, a senior associate at Shoosmiths talks openly about how applying for training contracts left her feeling disheartened and questioning whether she even wanted to be a lawyer.
Sharon shares how her role as a paralegal gave her the skill set she needed to land a job in a field of law she was interested in and helped her progress though her traineeship with more ease than had she taken the traditional route.
Episode 13: Annie Joseph
An honest discussion: when your personal life comes before your career
Annie Joseph shares how her personal and professional life collided when her dad had a brain haemorrhage whilst she was going through the qualification process at Foot Anstey.
Annie speaks openly about her mental health and how although ‘resilience’ is spoken about as an end goal in the legal industry, few are willing to discuss what it takes to truly gain a resilient persona.
Episode 12: Lorraine Chimbga
Are you building your personal brand for career success?
In a challenging economic climate it is easy to feel disheartened and worried about progressing your legal career. Current tech lawyer and future Clifford Chance trainee Lorraine Chimbga tells us why now is the perfect time to identify what you truly want from your career.
Lorraine shares what led her to establish lifeofalondonlawstudent.com and how she was approached to apply for a Clifford Chance training contract.
Lorraine’s non-traditional route into the legal profession is truly inspiring and her wisdom on how to build your personal brand to get your dream job is crucial during these challenging times.
Episode 11: Diana Czugler
Are you utilising your skill set to progress your career?
At a time when the traditional route into the legal profession feels inaccessible to many, associate Diana Czugler shares her alternative journey into the Business Crime department at Peters & Peters.
Diana shares how people often undersell the value alternative skill-sets can bring to their career progression and how you can use any past experience you may have to give your CV the edge.
This is a must watch episode for anyone looking to enter the legal profession, or for those within the profession who wish to find sustainable success and progress their career.
Episode 10: Ross McKenzie
Thriving in your legal career during a challenging economic climate
After finding himself without a NQ role at qualification during the 2008 recession, Addleshaw Goddard partner Ross McKenzie went in-house to manage fisheries technology.
He shares how this insight into technology helped shape his career and how he went on to be one of the youngest partners ever made up at Addleshaw Goddard.
His story is one of resilience, determination and what is possible even in a challenging market.
Episode 9: Tom Moran
Is impostor syndrome preventing your success?
To celebrate Pride Month we speak to Tom Moran, who is a future trainee at Clifford Chance, as well as their 2019 LGBTQ+ Undergraduate of the year.
Tom speaks to us about 'fitting in' as an openly gay and autistic future lawyer and his passion for promoting diversity in the legal profession. Tom also speaks about how he has dealt with impostor syndrome since primary school and how his fellow trainees inspire him to succeed in his career.
Episode 8: Fiona Clarke
Are you willing to ask for what you want to progress your career?
Burness Paull director Fiona Clarke talks to us about asking for what you want within the legal industry. As a trainee Fiona made the bold move of asking to sit within a team which had never had a trainee, a move which went on to shape the future of her career.
At less than a year qualified Fiona was the primary fee earner in the private client team, she shares how she coped with that responsibility and why team work is key to progressing your career.
Episode 7: Katie Ashton
Are you taking action to progress your career?
Burlingtons associate Katie Ashton shares how to consciously create the career you want and how there is always time to step back and re-evaluate your choices. She also tells us what it is like to work at a boutique London firm and how finding time for work life balance is the key to her success.
Episode 6: Justin Farrance
Are you brave enough to be the change you want to see within the legal industry?
After finding he had a little more time on his hands due to lockdown Allen & Overy trainee Justin Farrance decided to mentor a few students. This led to him launching Grow mentoring, which within two months has paired over 400 aspiring lawyers with legal professionals. His story is truly inspirational and shows what you can achieve if you are bold enough to take that leap of faith.
Episode 5: Sam Jardine
Have you got what it takes to make it to the top?
Fieldfisher partner Sam Jardine's honest insight into what it takes to be a leader in the busy corporate arena and how comparison amongst peers is present at any level of your career is an absolute must listen. Sam shares why a growth mind-set is invaluable to achieve success in your career and why he is on a mission to promote good mental health and wellbeing within the legal industry.
Episode 4: Sophie Warren
What does it take to get your dream job?
Sophie Warren shares how the traditional route into the legal industry isn't the only one. After deciding family practice wasn't for her, Sophie decided to find an alternative route into the corporate legal industry.
From using social media to asking a lawyer she admired on a train for advice, her story is definitely an interesting one!
Episode 3: Vik Duthie
How much flexibility is there within your legal career?
Often we think that there is one road to success and that once you have committed to that road, it is impossible to get off without leaving the legal industry.
However Burness Paull solicitor Vik Duthie shares how it is possible to change your career path to get your dream job and tells us how she did just that, twice!
Episode 2: Tom Williams
Have you got what it takes to jump in to the legal industry?
Tom Williams shares how cold water swimming has given him the confidence to tackle any work and life challenges that come his way. Inspired by top performers Tom also put in place a meditation practice 1.5 years ago and swears its the reason behind his smile, even on Monday mornings!
Tom also talks about going from 6.5 years at Slaughter & May to being general counsel at a a private equity firm and how in-house work comes with its own challenges.
Episode 1: Daniel Winterfeldt
What does it take to stand out from the crowd in the legal industry?
Reed Smith partner Daniel Winterfeldt certainly knows a thing or two about bringing personality into the legal environment. He shares the strategy his first mentor taught him to find the balance between toeing the line whilst letting your talent shine.
He also shares the fascinating story of how he founded the Interlaw Diversity and Inclusion forum and why he is so passionate about providing a platform for equality within the legal industry.
This interview is a much watch: bold, honest and a great insight into the level of dedication needed to make your mark on the legal industry.