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Laura O

Counsel | Hogan Lovells International LLP

Profile Highlights:

  • Full time working mother
  • State school educated
  • First generation lawyer
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Profile:

I grew up in a farming community in mid Wales, where the sheep outnumbered the lawyers by some considerable margin.  I attended the local state school, which was picturesque but offered limited advice in relation to legal careers.  Certainly, none of my classmates became lawyers or ended up in the City.

Whilst I was studying law at Bristol University I felt the lack of prior guidance and personal connections, especially when it came to applications for vacation schemes and training contracts.  However, I secured a training contract with Lovells (now Hogan Lovells), where I have remained since I qualified in 2003 into the real estate team.

I now have two children and work full time, which is still very unusual for women in City law firms.  Hogan Lovells has been very supportive of my choices and has worked with me to ensure that I can manage my family as well as my career.  The firm has an excellent diversity programme and various different diversity networks – for example I am in the Working Families Network.

I think City firms are becoming better at tailoring their recruitment processes to ensure that the profession is not dominated by the “pale, male and stale”, but it is still harder to break into the profession without the right background and connections and those that do often have to be more tenacious that their colleagues.  In my experience, some of the best lawyers come from non-traditional backgrounds.  Ultimately, diversity benefits everyone.

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