Netty Yasin's 20-Year Journey Into Law.

Q and A with Netty Yasin, Future Trainee Solicitor at CMS!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in law?

I first investigated taking the GDL over 20 years ago, so it has been a long-held but very delayed ambition! Like many women, I postponed my career aspirations when I became a mum. In my case, motherhood was further complicated by my younger daughter’s disability diagnosis. I spent years attending countless medical appointments and learning how to administer her numerous therapies. I also ran a full-time home education programme for her, with the assistance of a team of support workers who I recruited and trained myself to deliver her personalised curriculum. It was hugely demanding and literally took over my life and home!

Ironically, it was my experience of advocating for her rights and then working as a SEND (special educational needs and disability) advisor that kept my interest in law alive. I enjoyed using the law to help people to solve problems, which is essentially a lawyer’s role.

What has been a highlight of your journey into the profession?

There have been so many, it’s difficult to narrow down to just one, so I’ll pick my top 3! I was very proud of achieving a distinction in my Master’s, especially with all the challenges of lockdown and having to simultaneously care for my daughter 24/7 with no respite. Secondly, I secured a summer internship at American Express, which gave me invaluable insight into the work of an in-house legal team within a global business. It confirmed my decision to qualify into commercial law and illustrated the importance of a positive work culture, which influenced my law firm application choices. Finally, I have loved meeting so many amazing people and forming new connections along the way. I have made more friends in the last few years than in the decade prior. That has been an unexpectedly wonderful gift at this stage in my life.

What challenges have you had to overcome (if any)?

I think one of the biggest challenges has been overcoming my own insecurity and sense of imposter syndrome. The lack of diversity in City law is well documented. In my case, as well as ticking the diversity boxes for gender, ethnicity, disability, state school educated, free school meals, first-generation university student, and having caring responsibilities, I was nearly always the oldest candidate. Much of the recruitment process is targeted at younger candidates, and for some firms, my age ruled me out. It took me a while, but with the support of organisations such as Aspiring Solicitors, I learned to recognise that my differences are my greatest strengths.

On a more practical level, it was challenging balancing work, study, caring responsibilities and an unexpected health condition during my final year. I struggled to stay on track and ultimately let go of TC applications because I couldn’t manage it all.

What advice do you have for candidates looking to apply for a TC this application cycle?

1. Finalise your wishlist and know your ‘why’. All firms differ in subtle ways that might not be apparent at first glance. Once you know what matters to you most personally (e.g. salary, training, diversity, secondment opportunities, specific sector expertise), it will help you to narrow down your options and to offer credible reasons for applying to those firms.

2. Be selective. Each application takes time and effort, so it’s a waste of valuable energy making speculative applications. Only apply to firms you are genuinely drawn to, not just firms that look good on paper.

3. Develop a growth mindset. Learn to see the value in every stage of the journey, even if the outcome may not be what you choose. I believe that all my previous experiences (and the long wait!) played a part in developing me into the person that received the TC offer. Trust the process.