Name: Natasha Rees
Position: Partner and head of property litigation
In Hot 100 for: Her role on one of the year’s most high-profile trials. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Cockroaches. I spent my first six months as a trainee in a legal aid firm in Peckham in the housing team. I was involved in a case concerning cockroach infestation in a nearby building and had to photograph cockroaches and their location in the building as evidence. It turned out to be quite a landmark nuisance case because the cockroach infestation was emanating from the building next door. It was my first experience of a trial and seeing how legal principles were applied to the facts. It also gave me a taste for property litigation.
Who has been the most influential person in your career ? Why, and how have they helped you.
There have been many people who have influenced me throughout my career. One of the most significant was Sophie Hamilton. Sophie was a founding partner of Forsters who died in 2012 at the young age of 57. She was an exceptional property lawyer who was a great role model and mentor. She filled her life with a diversity that encompassed her professional interests, supporting of the performing arts and fundraising for charities. Her vision for the firm lives on today, some 20 years later and is now more relevant than ever.
What was the best career decision you ever made and why?
Joining the right firm for me. Forsters is a firm that is genuinely collegiate, and fun. It has been a very supportive environment in which to grow my practice.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Work hard but make sure you find time to do the things you enjoy. A good work life balance is essential. Last year I took a week off to take part in a charity cycle ride from London to MIPIM in Cannes. It was a complete contrast to work and a great experience. I probably did more networking on the ride that at MIPIM itself and got fit during the process too.
What work or career related project activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for ?
The Law Commission is reviewing the area of residential leasehold reform and are recruiting lawyers to work on the project. I would love to be involved in a project like this, working as a civil servant however, it would involve taking a sabbatical and since I have a number of cases coming to trial in 2018 it just isn’t possible.