Laura Hatfield, Partner, Solomon Harris
How long have you been working for your current company?
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
I qualified in London in 1989 and worked for the firm of Glovers in Mayfair where I became a partner in 1998 before moving to the Cayman Islands firm of Solomon Harris in 2001 to start up and lead the Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Restructuring department and where I became a partner in 2009.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
Acting as training partner to various trainees through the years as it is an honour to have a role in developing young talent.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
Managing other people effectively. I work on acquiring management skills through reading and training.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
It is a challenge but I have exercise and social routines which I work other commitments around.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
My own training partner who was then head of the department I worked in post qualification helped me by example and by specific training but also by teaching me about the business and management of a law practice.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
Corporate diversity initiatives are essential to keep a conscious level of awareness of the need for and benefits of corporate diversity. However, promotion of legal careers at an early stage of the educational process is vital so that diversity exists in those approaching firms for employment opportunities. Scholarships to assist in-house talent to reach full potential and flexible working arrangements are the most effective tools to promote diversity.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
I have felt both advantaged and disadvantaged by being a female in the legal profession and they largely weigh each other out. I have seen huge advances in female networking initiatives during my career which addresses one disadvantage that was very prevalent.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
Five years is too short a time to see really significant changes but if anything in that period the financial crisis in 2008 has had a negative impact on women from the point of view of opportunities for flexible working and improved work/life balance. In the last 10 years the growth in female-oriented networking opportunities has increased very positively.
"In the last 10 years the growth in female-oriented networking opportunities has increased very positively."
Laura Hatfield is a ranked lawyer in the Chambers Global Guide. More on her profile