Name: Julia Boyle
Position: Deputy GC
Trained at: Norton Rose
In Hot 100 for: Work opposing the judicial review of Ofcom’s spectrum auction last year and negotiating renewal of rights to O2 events. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
The only one I’m prepared to admit to in print is my six-month seat in Singapore. I loved the experience of living and working somewhere different, even if the daily reality was still the same old trainee tasks (and this was before email when 100-page documents had to be manually faxed back and forth).
It was an amazing experience for someone in their early 20s and sowed the seed for the idea of working overseas on a more long-term basis, which I eventually did in Sydney for five years. The irony that I have ended up in Slough is not lost on me!
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
My boss at Freehills in Sydney, Kathryn Everett. She showed me that it was possible to be hugely successful and command respect whilst being true to yourself, kind to those around you and focussing on what matters to you. She was a great teacher and mentor as well as a friend.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Taking the decision to move from a specialist IP role, where I had years of experience, to a far broader one which was definitely not in my comfort zone. It forced me to grow as a lawyer and gave me the confidence to do it again when more senior opportunities presented themselves.
It also made me realise that not knowing the precise answer immediately isn’t necessarily a problem. In fact, you’ll be surprised how much you do know. It will never be easy to put yourself out there but once you have done it once and survived you know you can do it again.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Two things. One, it’s not a race. I have made decisions during my career which have undoubtedly impacted the timing of promotions, not least choosing to work overseas for several years and having a family. Could I have got to my current role more quickly? Maybe, but I wouldn’t have been as content a person.
Secondly, be brave. When an opportunity presents itself it may not be quite what you had planned but it might be just the step forward you need. Don’t have too rigid an idea of your career plan because it probably won’t work out the way you envisage it.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
That’s a long list. I have always wanted to study further. I would love to have the time to study for a Masters, or an MBA, or even something not directly linked to my career. I have tried Open University in the past but I couldn’t keep it going with work and family commitments. Perhaps one day I will find a way to try again.