The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Danica Barley Firm: Ashurst LLP Location: London University: London School of Economics Undergraduate degree: Economics

don’t have to have studied law at university!” Even if someone is unsure whether law is for them at the outset of their studies, she would encourage them not to rule it out. “I think often people don’t consider it as a possible career for them, whereas actually, many lawyers have studied other subjects previously and then subsequently decided to qualify as solicitors.” Far from being an obstacle, a non-law degree can prove a real asset to prospective lawyers – as Danica knows from experience. “It can be really beneficial to have studied another subject, including, for example, economics, languages or maths, which may not appear to be traditional law- related subjects, but which can provide valuable transferable skills.”

Danica feels fortunate to have been involved in a wide range of work so far at Ashurst and identifies this variety as one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. She has also had the opportunity to go on secondment: “I spent six months with Lloyds Banking Group, which I really enjoyed – it was great to work with the in-house team there. I’ve also worked with lots of different clients and on a range of matters during my time at Ashurst. For example, the merger between Arla Foods and the Yeo Valley dairy business (cleared by the CMA at phase one of its review process); being involved in advising a leading bank in relation to the CMA’s retail banking market investigation; advising Liberty House Group in relation to its acquisition of assets (required to be divested by the European Commission) from ArcelorMittal; and some innovative compliance work for a global manufacturing client.” Itcanbeavery interesting, andtechnical, area intermsof research, underlyingprinciples, understandingmarketsand analysingcase law Finding the right fit To others considering a career in law, she stresses the value of work experience in discovering what practice area – and firm – is right for you. “Vacation schemes are very useful – they are a really good way of working out whether law is for you, because it can be tricky to know exactly what’s involved on a day-to-day basis until you have experienced it,” she advises. “These schemes not only give you a flavour of the different departments, but also help you to decide if a firm’s culture is suitable for you.”

When asked what one thing aspiring solicitors should know, Danica emphasises that “you


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