Hi, I’m Naoko and I’m a Senior Associate specialising in Corporate Tax Disputes in a City law firm. I qualified as a solicitor in September 2016 and have been at my current firm since. I studied Political Science at the University of Birmingham and graduated in 2011. I went on to study the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course in London. I completed my training contract in another City law firm. I am committed to improving diversity in the legal industry and mentoring has been a great opportunity for me to make a real difference.
I have mentored several law and non-law students over the last few years. Since I am based in London, while mentees are in Birmingham, our mentoring sessions tend to be via telephone or video calls. Recently, I was delighted to meet one of my mentees in person after they secured a training contract.
In terms of the mentoring process, I usually have an introductory call and, since most mentees have an existing CV, I provide feedback and we think about what other experiences could be included to demonstrate the skills that firms are looking for. As there are so many firms and practice areas within law, I try to put my mentees in touch with friends in different firms to give as much insight into my mentee’s chosen practice area as possible.
How can you support students and graduates through the mentoring scheme?
I can support you through the Careers Network Mentoring Scheme by discussing your career options (e.g. what type of law firm fits your career goals), how to navigate application processes for vacation schemes and training contracts, and review your CV to see if there are any gaps you could fill. I can also provide support in terms of discussing insecurities around pursuing a career in law and support you through any difficulties during the application process for training contracts as they are very difficult to get!