Name: Amy Jacks
Firm: DLA Piper
Trained at: DLA
In Hot 100 for: Rising through the ranks to play a pivotal role in the development of DLA Piper’s core financial sector team. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee/pupil?
Being sent out on site shortly after qualification to a manufacturing business that had just gone into administration. I was in my suit all prepared to answer any legal issues – assuming I would sit at a desk and calmly deal with queries. Of course the reality of the situation was that the IPs were trying to get a grasp of the business to keep it running while I was going between them and the staff to help with employment queries and then suppliers trying to drive in and load up their lorries to take goods away. Sitting behind a desk and writing letters about retention of title or other legal issues doesn’t really prepare you for the reality on the ground!
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
I have been at DLA Piper my whole career and been very lucky to work with some amazing people in an environment where supporting each other has always been the norm. However, the most influential person for me has been the Global Co-Chair of the Restructuring group, Michael Fiddy who has been my friend and mentor throughout my whole career. He taught me many very important things – such as the fact that positivity breeds positivity – so be energetic and passionate about what you do; never turn up late for a client as it shows lack of respect for their time (good advice to someone who is always late in my personal life!) and treat people properly as no one will support you through the tough times / on the way down if you don’t.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Being brave enough to take the next step whenever the opportunity was there. Things that are daunting (or even terrifying) at the time, become less so once you grow into them. It is unlikely that you will ever regret taking the plunge – but you will if you miss out on opportunities.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Be open minded to where your life and career take you. Make yourself indispensable as you go through the ranks. Treat clients and colleagues with respect and take the time to understand the pressures that your clients face so you can be their trusted adviser. Build a support system around you – this is a tricky job to do without backing of family and friends and keeping your real world outside of the office together is very important.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
None! Any time I ever have I want to be doing something very much outside of the law.