Name: Donna Bartley
Firm: Morgan Sports Law
Role: Senior Associate
Trained at: Barlow Lyde & Gilbert
Year qualified: 2011
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I will never forget arriving back to the office from a long day of trainee errands to find a memo placed on my desk setting me the task of finding a football expert, to assess the chance of a youth academy player becoming professional.
The memo listed several well-known managers and former managers as potential targets who I should try to get in touch with and led to my most fun project as a trainee.
Given that I was at a firm that did not have a sports team, I could not believe my luck!
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
One of my first supervisors gave me the advice to always use your down time well.
There is definitely a lot of pressure in the industry to constantly be busy, which can lead to regarding certain tasks as unimportant. However, quieter periods are a great opportunity to reflect on work, spend time on career development and to generally get things in order.
Above all though, it is important to allow yourself to have a break, so making the most of that when you can is definitely time well spent.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
It would be tricky to pick one person, as there have been so many people who have had an influence on my career at different stages.
I have been very lucky to have worked with some amazing lawyers, including my supervisors, peers, and some fantastic barristers. I have also worked with some great people in the non-legal jobs I have had. You can learn so much from the people you come across, so I have definitely picked up lots of tips over the years as to the type of lawyer and team member I want to be.
My family have also been a huge influence, through their constant support and encouragement. The achievements of my grandparents, who came to London from Jamaica in the 1950s, have also been a great source of inspiration to me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Focus on what interests you about working as a lawyer in sport. Choose your own path and, at the risk of hijacking a sports phrase, ‘trust the process’.
There are now a number of firms dedicated to sports law. However, it is still an area where many people started off in different fields but have found their own way to specialising in sport, by seeking out opportunities to move towards the type of work they wanted to do, however gradually.
I have definitely been inspired by many of those stories, which demonstrate that there is no single right way of doing things. However, if you have a plan and keep moving towards it, changing course as and when necessary, you will get there, and hopefully also enjoy yourself along the way.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
She is about to start a new role advising FTSE 100 companies on business risks and insurance coverage.