Name: Kendrah Potts
Firm: 4 New Square
Trained at: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Year qualified: 2006
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee/pupil?
Shortly before I was due to travel to Colombia for a case, I was provided with a booklet encouragingly entitled: “What to do if you get kidnapped”. The tip I remember most clearly was, “Don’t blame yourself”. I told the partner that I would definitely not blame myself but I would blame him! It turned out to be an incredibly interesting trip, both in terms of the work and seeing a bit of Bogotá, which is a wonderful city.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
Work hard but book holidays! This job can be all-consuming and it is important to recharge. A number of people have said this to me, although, ironically, I am not sure they (or I) are very good at putting it into practice.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
While there are a number of people I could credit for having had a positive influence on my career, there are two that particularly stand out:
One is Tim Jones, who was a partner at Freshfields. I applied to Freshfields after meeting Tim at a law fair whilst at Oxford. He was the most enthusiastic person I spoke to that day (and he talked particularly positively about the opportunities for international work and his time working in the Freshfields Paris and Madrid offices). Tim was also instrumental in Freshfields’ decision to sponsor the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where I was lucky enough to spend time on secondment. This turned out to be the start of my sports law practice.
The other is Jane Mulcahy QC, who encouraged me to transfer to the Bar and has been a great source of wisdom. I had enjoyed the eleven years I spent as a solicitor and the different responsibilities presented by being a partner, and I thought it might be too late to transfer to the Bar. Fortunately Jane persuaded me otherwise. We have since worked together on two cases (defending Kieran Trippier and Daniel Sturridge) and it was great to have the opportunity to learn from such a fantastic advocate.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
When trainees and mini-pupils ask me for advice, my main comment is: work out what you enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis and find the job that allows you to do it. Most of the successful people I know work extremely hard and that is always much easier when you enjoy it.
I would add to that: keep an eye out for opportunities that could add to your skills and experience (in my case a secondment opened up a new practice area and career opportunities) and invest time in building a good network.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
My closest friends from law school/university all still work in law: Karen Braganza is vice president in the in-house international legal team at Warner Bros., Alice Goodenough works in human rights law and Ruth Hosking (who, like me, does commercial litigation and civil fraud, as well as shipping) and Rosemary Budden (family law) are both barristers.