Christina Howard, Watson Farley training principal

Watson Farley & Williams’ training principal describes how her career highlight was not being abducted when working on a deal in a location which the FCO recommended avoided due to such risk

Firm: Watson Farley & Williams (WFW)

Department: Corporate

University: Birmingham

Degree subject: Law with French

Hobbies: Spending time with my two small boys.

How long have you been a partner for? Four years

Who/what inspired you to be lawyer? It seemed like a natural step after enjoying my law degree.

What things did you wish you knew before embarking on a legal career?  Not everyone (particularly, friends and family) will find your job as interesting as you do.  You need to be disciplined in your time management.

What does your typical day involve? Checking emails that have come in overnight and dealing with them, reviewing and amending documents, conference calls with clients and lawyers on the other side of the transactions I’m working on and trainee recruitment and development issues.  And lunch in the canteen whenever possible.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job? Consistently meeting and exceeding client expectations.

What has been the highlight of your legal career so far? Not being abducted when working on a deal several years ago in a location which the FCO suggested you avoid due to abduction risk

What are the best aspects of your job? The people at WFW.  Honestly.

What are the worst aspects of your job? Trying to find a work life balance.

What top tips would you give to students who want to break into the legal profession?  Really think about the type of firm you want to work for.  Make the most of any opportunity available to get to know a firm and the people who work there (through law fairs, vacation schemes etc.).  You will inevitably spend a lot of time at work and you want to be happy there.

What are the most common mistakes you’ve seen candidates making?  Other than spelling mistakes, not having properly researched the firm they are applying to.  We understand that students will be applying to several firms but a well prepared candidate, who can demonstrate genuine interest in and knowledge of our firm and what we do, is always of interest to us.

How has the legal market changed since the days you were a trainee? When I was a trainee, email and the internet were just starting to be used in the office (I can still recall the telex machine).  Now, communication is global and instantaneous.  Keeping on top of email traffic in a complex international transaction at all times of the day and night can be challenging.

What impact has the recession had on your firm? We have been lucky in that our sector focus and size meant that we were not too badly affected by the recession.  

What three words best describe your firm?  Friendly, dynamic and international.

Where did you go for your last holiday? France

What gadget/gizmo would you be lost without? Tumble dryer