Careers: I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a lawyer
Having wanted to be a lawyer from a young age, Lingxi Wang decided to study LLB Law at SOAS to learn more about legal systems outside of the UK. Now working as an Islamic Finance lawyer, Lingxi is putting his knowledge into practice and also helping to train future lawyers too. Lingxi also had some great advice and tips for anyone wanting to work in the legal profession.
Could you give us a brief overview of your current role and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I'm a Managing Associate for the Islamic Finance Team at Foot Anstey LLP. My role involves working with banks, companies and individuals on Islamic financing transactions in the real estate sector. My day to day work varies a lot, and this can involve preparing financing agreements and security documents, undertaking due diligence and preparing a report on property, reviewing sale contracts, attending conference calls and collaborating with colleagues in other teams and departments. I also often travel to meet with client’s face to face and attend industry conferences and events. As well as this, I am a trainee supervisor too, so I arrange to meet with my current trainee to discuss their work and carry out seat assessments.
What motivates you in your role?
I’m motivated by the wide variety of work that I am involved in and being able to deliver solutions to clients. There is no typical work day so I never know what new transaction or matter may cross my desk. For example, I may be working on the acquisition of a high value office block or a meeting to discuss a cross border corporate deal.
Islamic Finance is also a niche area of law and I enjoy being a specialist. I have given presentations on the concepts and principles of Islamic Finance to help people learn more about this area of law. It is a fast growing industry and there are lots of growth opportunities such as harnessing technology to provide new financial services which is very new and exciting.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to get into this field of work?
I would recommend that you get as much experience as possible and don't focus too early on either becoming a barrister or a solicitor, or a particular area of law. Until you have done some work experience you should keep yourself open to all possibilities.
Another piece of advice I have is to not give up. If you are really passionate about becoming a lawyer then I would advise you to pursue it. There is no set path and don't be disheartened if don't secure a pupillage or training contract immediately. A lot of trainees I supervise now, have got either prior working experience in a law firm as a paralegal, or have had another career in a different industry before retraining to become a lawyer. All forms of work experience are valuable, whether it's in or outside law.
Why did you choose to study LLB Law at SOAS?
Choosing to study law was an easy choice for me because I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a lawyer. So a Law LLB degree was the most straightforward first step for me to achieve this objective. SOAS stood out from other university law programmes because of the opportunity to learn about legal systems outside of the UK.
What did you enjoy the most about studying at SOAS?
One of the subjects that I enjoyed studying the most at SOAS was equity and trusts, not an area of law I use in my current role. Our lecturer made a dry subject interesting by teaching us about the origin of trusts from the Medieval period. It was a method for members of the nobility to permit their wives and other family members to maintain control of their estates when they went overseas and would be gone for years at a time.
What one piece of careers advice do you wish you'd had when you were at university?
I wish someone had explained to me the importance of a law firm's culture and values. It's easy to read websites and think that every firm's culture is the same, but that is not correct. Every firm has their own unique culture and everyone needs to find a working environment that suits them.
I recommend you attend career fairs, firm open days and apply to vacation schemes, and most importantly ask questions about the firm's culture. You will enjoy you work and be motivated if you're around other people that you like and who share similar values.
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