Alumni News

Catch up on the latest news from our alumni community

We love to celebrate the successes of our alumni community. If you have started a new position, won an award or achieved something special, please let us know. Email our alumni team to share your news.

Achievements and appointments

Congratulations to our alumni on their recent achievements and new appointments.

James LambertFlorence Anie-Akwetey (London Associate until 2021) was recently appointed to the role of Vice President, Legal Counsel at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Florence joined SMBC in January following two years at Credit Suisse as Assistant Vice President.

Amy Rogers

Laura Bowlt (Perth Construction Senior Associate until 2015) was recently appointed as Legal Counsel at bp. Laura contributes to the global hydrogen and carbon capture storage team at bp, driving initiatives to achieve the company's net-zero ambition. Previously, Laura was Senior Legal Counsel at INPEX, where she worked on the Ichthys project. Before that, she was a Senior Associate in the Projects, Energy and Infrastructure group at HSF.

Congratulations on your new role Laura! What excites you most about this position?

What first attracted me was the opportunity to be part of a talented and passionate team that is working to transform bp into an integrated energy company. I'm enjoying working on a variety of exciting projects, including AREH, one of the world's largest renewables and green hydrogen energy hubs, which bp is leading and operating and which is based in Western Australia.

In your opinion, what are the major challenges to tackling net zero?

Unfortunately, there are multiple major challenges. At an individual level, we need to instigate shifts in behaviour and cultivate active engagement in sustainable practices, in a way that encompasses consumer choices and lifestyle adjustments. This challenge is further compounded by economic constraints and the inherent resistance to change that often accompanies such transitions.

On a larger scale, the significant and extensive updates and changes that need to be made to existing infrastructure are especially challenging. The fact is that the upfront costs of transitioning to a net-zero economy are substantial. Successfully addressing these financial challenges is pivotal in ensuring the widespread adoption of sustainable practices. At the same time, the challenge of managing energy security adds another layer of complexity to the equation.

Do you have any advice for fellow alumni looking to move into an in-house role?

Go on secondment! It will give you an unparalleled opportunity to see whether an in-house role is for you, as well as helping build the soft skills you need to secure an in-house role.

It’s crucial to develop a thorough knowledge of the sector, so that you can begin to appreciate the real-world practical implications of your legal advice.

As an in-house lawyer, you’re exposed to a range of legal work that often spans multiple practice areas, so be prepared to move out of your comfort zone. Be confident and believe in yourself – you will likely already have skills that will be well received in-house. Also, be resourceful and proactive in building your professional network. Seek help and support from peers, as well as your external legal network. Networking within the company is also crucial – find out who are the right people to talk to, so that you have a comprehensive understanding of what is going on outside the legal silo.

Anthony Greenwood

Jessica Srour (Sydney Projects, Energy Transition & Real Estate Associate until 2021) was recently appointed as Legal Counsel at global integrated real estate group, Lendlease. Previously, Jessica was Legal Counsel at Australian construction company, CPB Contractors.

James Prescott

Ada Desmond (New York Marketing & BD Assistant until 2015) was recently appointed as Director of Digital Acceleration at No7 Beauty Company. Since leaving Ashurst, Ada has enjoyed a variety of brand and digital marketing roles, including Associate Brand Manager at Champagne Laurent-Perrier US and Director of Marketing at Village Gourmet.

Congratulations Ada! What does a typical day look like in your new role?

Most days, I start by corresponding with the UK, either the agency in charge of our website, directly with consumer sales, or with our head office before they leave for the day. We're a growing company in the US, and mine is a new position in the organisation, so before I hear from my team I'll look at our media performance or campaign status and check on major projects. Right now, it's working with the brand teams on preparing for our upcoming fiscal year, launching programmes with Walmart and Target, working on a digital road map, and meeting my boss and other members of the marketing leadership team to establish new processes for our small but mighty NYC outpost!

Do you have a favourite memory from your time at Ashurst?

I have to give credit to the amazing secretaries who were so patient with me and showed me how to navigate really stressful, high-pressure situations (with huge contracts on the line): Nancy Matthews and Griselle Anglero will always be my work moms, who I could always go to if I was too intimidated by the lawyers (and I still have a pothos plant that Griselle gave me in 2013). They showed me what to do, how to operate and be successful in a male-dominated industry – and where to find the best Cuban sandwiches in Midtown. They don't get enough credit outside the legal industry: most lawyers I know would trust their secretaries with their lives, but people don't know how much they keep the business running. I remember not knowing what to make of one partner's handwriting (always handwritten, often illegible). I knew I could always go to his secretary and she would tell him to decipher his own writing, or she would just know what he was saying.

Do you have any advice for fellow BD alumni looking to move into a digital marketing position?

If you're new and you're making a lateral move, just feel confident in what you want to do, and do it: I found a position at an agency that was hiring a trade marketing assistant manager. The role involved using their CRM and cultivating commercial prospects for their clients. I had done some similar work at Ashurst sending out white papers via LexisNexis and putting together RFPs and sales decks. Working in a law firm forces you to be incredibly detail-oriented, a close reader, and sensitive to legal topics: all of which are very valuable in today's digital space, where you need to be constantly worried about things like PII data, GDPR compliance, and knowledgeable about using advanced digital marketing technology. If you think about it the right way, you can always find similarities between the job you have right now and your next career move, even if it seems like a bit of a leap. Also, working in BD and working the booth at conferences made me great at pitching and public speaking – so use that!

James Prescott

Matt Milgrom (London and New York Structured Finance, Structured Products and Derivatives Senior Associate until 2012) was recently promoted to General Counsel at corporate credit manager AGL Credit Management. Matt joined AGL as Head of Legal & Business Affairs in 2022 after ten years as Executive Director at Morgan Stanley.

Congratulations Matt! Please tell us a bit about your new role.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The most exciting part of my role (yet also one of the more challenging ones) is that there isn’t ever a “typical” day. Starting as the only lawyer at the firm (we’re now a legal “department” of two, and growing), I wear many hats and am involved in most aspects of the firm’s business. I’ve been a corporate/transactional attorney for almost my entire career, very much a “deal junky,” but at a firm of the size of AGL (we’re currently ~50 people), I’m also a part-time employment lawyer, real estate lawyer, insurance lawyer, etc., and often times just an experienced pair of eyes and ears on commercial matters not strictly legal at all. It is daunting at times, but never dull and often quite exhilarating.

What's the best piece of career advice you've been given?

To be honest, I haven’t really been given much career advice. I think perhaps as lawyers we’re often told to just keep our heads down, work hard, and keep going, but that’s not always great advice. If I were to give anyone career advice myself, I’d say to focus on the people around you. The job we do is often very difficult, not exactly fun and it’s easy to overlook how critically important it is to respect and admire the people around you, to enjoy their company, and to have inspiring role models. There are, of course, many other elements that play into liking one’s job, liking one’s career, some more important in the short-term, but very few more important in the long-term than making sure to find the right team of people with whom to work.

Other news

Nick Abrahams

Dan Brown, Ashurst’s Global Co-Chair Energy Industry shares his journey from coal mine electrician, to supporting clients with their energy transition goals.

Read Dan's interview

Nick Abrahams

We chat to the partners behind Ashurst's new Obligations Management Solution - Morgan Spain, Samantha Carroll, Chris Baker and Nathan Bellgrove.

Read the interview

Nick Abrahams

Check out our new podcast series celebrating the individuals re-imagining business by taking meaningful action against ESG issues through innovation.

Visit our podcasts

Nick Abrahams

Ashurst Advance hits a decade of ground-breaking innovation! With the recent launch of our third global delivery centre in Krakow, we're re-writing the rules of innovative legal service delivery.

Watch the video

Nick Abrahams

As Ashurst Advance celebrates 10 years, and launches its third global delivery centre in Krakow, we hear NewLaw predictions for the future from the Ashurst Advance Leadership team.

Read more

Nick Abrahams

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