Anna Cook, BristowsName: Anna Cook

Firm: Bristows

Position: Partner

Trained at: Dorman & Co

In Hot 100 for: Working on one of last year’s largest advertising technology cases. Read her full Hot 100 profile.

What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?

My most vivid memories involve running. I did my training contract at a shipping practice which was busy with ship arrests.  It was always a scramble to get the procedural documents together and then it was my job to get them issued before 4.30pm.

I was often found desperately running around the Court Buildings or begging at the door of the Admiralty Registry as everything shut for the night.  I would even pathetically push things under their door when I was late – emotionally blackmailing the staff into opening it.

Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?

Felicity Moffat made a massive impact on me when I was a junior lawyer. Felicity was the associate general counsel at Diageo and I worked with her as part of a large team of external lawyers and firms. She led a number of very demanding projects, involving long hours and lots of travel. I learnt a huge amount from her approach to delegation, problem solving and the way in which she listened, persuaded or challenged others. I always admired her sense of perspective and her ability to retain her sense of humour. 

Until I met her, I had never been instructed by a woman in such a senior position, never mind a mother with a young family. Working with her was a lesson in how to manage and how to keep a balance between competing demands.

What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?

I started my career in shipping and loved it. However, my best career decision was to move into IT and to learn about software, projects and systems. Over the years, I have really enjoyed keeping up with new technologies and the opportunities to deal with new ideas and risks.   

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?

You can’t have too many friends. It is really important to stay in touch with your peer group and to take an interest in industry developments and problems.

What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?

I would love to be more involved the future of legal training. It would be really interesting to think about how junior lawyers are trained in the future, given the pressures to disaggregate and to automate “traditional” work.