Weightmans partner Catriona Wolfenden talks to The Lawyer ahead of her panel session at the Business Leadership Summit, sharing her top tips for a successful career and her biggest prediction for the legal sector.
What are your top tips for being successful in your career?
My career has taken me in all kinds of directions – from a PHD to the Bar Vocational Course, then cross qualifying as a solicitor. I have had various roles at Weightmans including practising lawyer, professional support lawyer and most recently, innovation manager. This year, I also joined the firm’s fixed share partnership. There was some method to the madness, as I was able to learn and apply new skills in each of these diverse roles, with a foundation of first-hand experience of civil litigation. My top tip would be to embrace all opportunities available to you, which prevents a silo mentality and enables you to build on skills you already have – you don’t have to be an expert in everything, but a basic level of understanding and knowing who to ask can take you far! It’s also important to remember that entry into law is changing – you don’t need to follow the traditional path of LPC and training contract to progress, and there are many new innovation-based roles for people who like a challenge.
What is your big prediction for the legal sector?
I think the number of legal AI start ups will shrink and there will be a lot of consolidation in the market, as there are many companies currently looking at solving all or part of the same problem. In terms of law firms, we will continue to see more product manager and designer based opportunities as firms look to offer software as a service externally, moving beyond the traditional law firm model of selling legal services and insights into a more rounded business adviser.
If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be?.
I have always been fascinated by space exploration and the efforts we put into exploring the boundaries of our technological capabilities, so some role within the European Space Agency would have been my dream job.