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Anne S

Partner | Pinsent Masons LLP

Profile Highlights:

  • State School Educated
  • First Generation to University
  • Senior Woman in Law
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I attended a state comprehensive school, followed by a Further Education college, where I studied subjects that were completely unrelated to law (Biology, Chemistry and French). I can remember being given some early careers advice that left me feeling that the legal sector wasn’t really open to people from my background, but nonetheless I chose to study law at the University of Kent.

When I was applying for vacation schemes, I knew no-one who worked in the City or who was a solicitor and looking back, I had no real idea of what the different type of firms might offer. The only thing I was certain of at that point was that I wanted to be an employment lawyer. I did a vacation scheme, and then a training contract, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and qualified into its Employment, Pensions and Benefit team in 2006. Since then, I have worked at Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills), Simmons & Simmons, and joined Pinsent Masons as a partner in 2020.

One of the things that has really struck me as I have progressed through my career and observed others around me, is the way in which some of us try to hide those aspects of ourselves that don’t fit with the way what we perceive to be the “norm” for the legal profession. I was given advice early on in my career that I should avoid mentioning the PhD that I was doing alongside working (the topic I was covering was seen as being political), or that I shouldn’t mention that I went to a state school. This was bad advice; I spent years self-censoring and worrying about what I said, when actually my clients were really interested in these aspects of my life.

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