Name: Olga Galazoula
In Hot 100 for: Work on the high-profile administration of Bell Pottinger. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I actually trained in Athens and the most memorable bit about my time there was the sheer variety of work that I was exposed to, all at the same time – commercial disputes court hearings in the morning, attend the DA’s office with a defendant in the afternoon, draft a facility agreement in the evening. It greatly helped me develop the intuition to probe and be concerned about legal issues that go far beyond my field of specialisation.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest restructuring lawyers in the City so that is a tricky one, but if I had to single out one person, it would have to be Ashurst’s Dan Hamilton. He taught me the art of not losing perspective and how it is never about us and our intellectual egos, it is about our clients and them only – effectively managing their risks, being commercial, getting their deals done. Every time I come across a lawyer on the other side who is obstructive for the sake of scoring points and against their clients’ true interests, I always think of Dan and how we need more lawyers like him.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Becoming a restructuring lawyer. I originally struggled to find a specialist area that would combine my love for the law with the adrenaline kick of a transaction, and restructuring balances the two perfectly.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
- There is no substitute for hard work.
- Care about your profession, your clients, your colleagues, your firm – you have to be passionate about something to really stand out.
- Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
My original plan when I started my masters’ degree at the LSE was to continue with my PhD straight away, I did however abandon the PhD endeavour before it started for fear that I would find the years of research and drafting very lonely in my mid-20s. While I don’t regret it, I am not a quitter so that decision has always sat uneasily with me; the PhD is therefore still firmly on my bucket list, though I suspect it will have to wait until my retirement from private practice…