Interview With a Professional in Legal: Kate Leavesley, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs
News Categories: aspire
What was your first job?
Working in Sainsbury’s customer café! Glamorous.
Did you ever imagine to be undertaking your current role, in not, what did you want to be doing?
Yes and no! I originally thought I would become a doctor but after some stomach turning work experience, I decided to pursue law. There’s a pretty set path to qualification and the main challenge was securing a training contract. Once I had my training contract offer everything seemed to fall into place and I was lucky to qualify with my firm in the depths of the recession. I certainly didn’t see myself practicing pensions law though. I didn’t even know it existed before I started my training contract!
Which parts of your role are the most enjoyable and which parts are the most challenging?
Some of the most challenging parts of my job are also the most enjoyable – providing complex advice to clients in meetings and wracking my brain to think of solutions to complex queries and issues. My job keeps me on my toes and provides a sense of achievement when clients go away happy. Most of all I enjoy working with my colleagues; it’s so important to have a supportive team around you.
How do you balance your working and personal life?
I diarise EVERYTHING and am the Queen of lists! Work can get really busy and I do lots outside of work, including the Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Plan, which is like having a second job! I also love yoga, have a busy social life and love my holidays. So I schedule everything in my diary and make lots of “to do” lists to keep on top of everything. It’s really important to have down time; so I prioritise yoga even when I’m pushed for time as it keeps me sane!
What advice would you give to a young professional wanting to progress in your industry?
Work hard, get involved and be committed. In particular, get involved with work charity events, networking events and social events – it’ll raise your profile and you’ll feel and be considered by others as a key part of the team. Get involved with things outside of work that you’re interested in. Your time is too precious to join a committee that you don’t enjoy. Finally, be committed to whatever you do as there’s nothing worse than someone who can’t be relied on.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?
Work wise I hope to be climbing the partnership ranks, but more importantly I hope to be healthy, happy and living life to the full.
What’s the best tip or piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be useful and be kind. I heard Barack Obama say that on “Running Wild With Bear Grylls”. I think that advice would get anyone a long way in life.
What do you enjoy the most in/about Birmingham?
Everything is on my doorstep! Bars, restaurants, theatres and some of the UK’s best shopping, combined with top quality places to work, all within a walk from my house in the Jewellery Quarter. And the current level of development, renovation and investment means Birmingham is only going to get better!