Could you give a brief description of your career to-date?
I was lucky enough to know from a young age that I wanted to be a solicitor and after my A-levels I completed a law degree. All solicitors in England and Wales have to complete a legal practice course before starting a 2 year training contract at a law firm. I completed the legal practice course at BPP Law School in Holborn and then went on to train with a firm local to my home in North London.
I qualified as a solicitor in December 2008 and specialised in litigation, dealing mainly with contentious probate claims. I was promoted to head of the litigation team in 2011.
I moved to Child & Child in July 2013 setting up a contentious trusts and probate department from scratch, I moved with my colleague Katie de Swarte and we have had a really successful first year building the department.
What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment and that you feel most proud of?
Most of my cases involve acting for clients who, without the legal process would lose their homes and all financial security. I have been fortunate enough to act for some amazing people and have been able to help them turn their lives from the darkness of losing a loved one and facing financial ruin, to ensuring they remain in their home and have financial security for the rest of their lives.
Natasha wears the Eaton dress in black and white tweed
How important is it to build your network in order to progress in your career?
It is massively important to build my network in order to progress in my career. Obtaining new cases is difficult as most people will only litigate once in their lives so there is no scope for repeat work from the same client. I have to rely on recommendations and so the more people who know what I do the more work I will have.
Moving to Child & Child a year ago to set up a completely new department was really challenging but also a massive opportunity for Katie and I. We have had to work hard at making new contacts and building on the ones we already have. There is nothing more satisfying than being recommended for a new case as that is the ultimate compliment.
What advice would you give to your younger-self when you were starting out in law that you wish you had known?
I would tell myself to work hard and to obtain the best possible grades in my exams as that opens more doors and broadens your choices. The key is to allow yourself to be in a position where you have the pick of universities and careers, rather than having to take whatever you can get.
I would also tell myself to relax and not to worry as much, as long as you try your hardest it will all work out in the end. That also applies to people who do not know what they want to do, study the subjects you enjoy and are good at and the rest will fall into place.
Also, apply for as much work experience as you can, and when you are lucky enough to be offered a placement work as hard as you can as most jobs are not advertised and the work experience could lead to a future job.
My final point for those who go to university would be to make the most of the long summers by travelling as you will never have that much time off when you do start work!
Do you need to dress in a particular way for work?
If I am meeting clients or at court I need to dress smartly but at all other times I can wear what I want. On casual days I often wear jeans, a top, suit jacket and smart shoes.
What are your tips to look the part in the office? How do you keep stylish but still work appropriate?
Whether we like it or not we are all judged on how we look. It is crucial that I look the part at work as clients are entrusting me with matters of massive importance to them and, if I do not look like I can manage myself and my appearance, how can I expect them to have faith in my ability to manage their cases?
I think the key is to make sure that you wear items you feel comfortable in and to dress according to your own individual style. Early on in my career I thought that I had to wear a conventional 2 piece suit in order to look the part and that is definitely not the case. Over the years I have learnt to experiment. I think we have moved away from the standard suit and luckily there are so many items you can mix and match and accessorise with to keep your wardrobe updated.
Women have so much more choice when it comes to dressing for work than men do and I often hear women complain about how easy men have it, however I think we are fortunate to have so much more choice, although that does mean that it is easier for us to get it wrong.
The most important thing is to dress how you want as confidence is the key to making an outfit look great.
What do you like to do after work and where is your ideal getaway from the city?
I generally spend 2 or 3 evenings a week attending work networking events, so on the evenings I am free I like to spend these relaxing at home with my husband, cooking or catching up with friends. I live and work in the city which means that I am always going at such a fast pace that it’s nice to switch off at weekends and drive out of town and find a lovely cosy pub for a great Sunday roast and a few glasses of wine.
My ideal getaway is definitely somewhere hot and exotic where I can spend the days relaxing or sightseeing and the evenings eating and having a cocktail or two.
And finally, what is your favourite item from The Fold collection?
I absolutely love the Le Marais draped jacket in white. The cut of the pattern with the layering is so flattering and it can easily be worn smartly or casually. I think it is a great work outfit when teamed with the Le Marais straight trousers; equally, it would also look amazing with jeans and a top for a more casual look.
Photos from Amelia Allen Photography.