Andrew Austin, Freshfields training partner

Name: Andrew Austin

Firm: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Position: Partner

Degree: French and German

University: The College of Law Guildford & University of Oxford

Hobbies: Travel, theatre and music

Area of practice: Dispute Resolution 

When and why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I developed an interest in my second year of university. I had tried teaching, but I wasn’t very good at it, and a lot of my uni friends were studying law. I had also watched a lot of legal dramas on TV growing up. I had always been interested in business, and ultimately that made me want to work for a City firm. I did lots of research, spoke to lots of people, organised a couple of summer vacation schemes, and made the applications… 

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The challenge that comes with working with some really big clients and being able to help solve the most difficult, high-value problems they have. I also work with a nice bunch of people and I really like my team. There are lots of opportunities to travel and to work and meet with people from different cultures, which is great.

What are the worst aspects of your job?

It can be challenging in terms of the hours and also very unpredictable.  You’ve got be very responsive to your clients, but you have to make sure you find the time to do the things you enjoy outside work at the same time. 

What’s the main issue that lawyers in your field are thinking about at the moment?

Part of my job is to help clients understand the implications of new or upcoming regulation, and sometimes to help them handle regulatory investigations and disputes. The regulatory risk that they face is, and will always be, a challenge and of major concern.  You will have to make sure you are on top of any changes that may affect your clients, so that you can advise them accordingly. 

If you weren’t in your current field, what other area of law would you like to work in?

I’m not sure about another area of the law. If I were to pick another career, however, I’ve always rather liked the idea of running Heathrow or maybe an airline. 

Andrew Austin, Freshfields
Andrew Austin, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

What’s the biggest misconception that students have about life as a lawyer?

That it’s enough to be a good technical lawyer. It’s not. This job is all about understanding clients’ needs and building personal relationships… only when you really understand a client’s business can you apply what you know about the law to help solve their problems.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

I have two cats. I have a massive dislike of prawns. In the early 90s I acted as a backing singer for Take That.

In one sentence, what’s the one key thing that students should understand about your firm?

If you have the qualities that we want, you will do brilliantly – whatever your ethnicity, university background, religion or belief or whether you are gay or straight.

What was the oddest thing you were asked to do as a trainee?

To fly to Ethiopia on two days’ notice to help prepare a witness for an arbitration. 

What’s your best friend from law school doing now?

She is running her family construction business.