Reeta Nair, corporate counsel at the LEGO Group, explains she established her legal career and why life as a lawyer isn’t always as it’s portrayed on TV.
What is your current job title?
Corporate counsel at the LEGO Group.
What does your job entail on a day-to-day basis?
I take care of all legal issues for the LEGO Group in matters which arise across Europe, Middle East and Africa. I also get to play with and build things using LEGO® bricks during meetings in our office … I think my LEGO skills are slowly improving! 🙂
How did you get involved in the legal industry?
I studied for my law degree and postgraduate legal practice course (LPC) at Cardiff University. After that, I trained as a corporate lawyer with a law firm. I spent 12 years working as a corporate lawyer in a law firm before moving to take up a position as an “in-house” lawyer for the LEGO Group.
What was your first ever job and did you enjoy it?
I worked on the checkouts at Tesco during my school holidays from age 16 onwards doing evening and weekend shifts. I enjoyed saving for additional things I wanted to do without needing my parents to give me pocket money – I even managed to save for a trip to Asia on one of my summer holidays! I didn’t enjoy wearing the frumpy red-spotted “checkout chick” outfit as much though and was glad to swap that for some sharper looking business suits when I became a lawyer!
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you want to be doing career-wise?
I have always loved music. I played the piano from the age of seven, sang in a choir and played the cello with an orchestra for years. If I hadn’t gone into law, I would have tried my hand at music but I think the dedication required to become a professional musician is something to be really proud of and I wasn’t sure I had the discipline and dedication to turn something I loved as a hobby into a professional career.
In terms of educational/career attainment, what are the main challenges facing BAME young people today and what do you think can/should be done to overcome them?
In many professions, the senior ranks are still occupied by a certain demographic of British society outside who sit well outside the BAME sphere. These people are more likely to connect with and recruit those who are like them and with whom they have common ground.
I think more needs to be done to educate them in an increasingly globalised world so that their view of the world and understanding of the benefits that diversity can bring to their businesses agenda is broadened. BAME young people also need to have the determination and drive to succeed in a corporate world and must believe and have confidence that they do have something special to offer.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young person who wants to work in your industry, what would it be?
Be dedicated in your path – try to get as much work experience as you can and when doing so: be dedicated, open and willing to learn. Life with a legal career it is not always like an episode of “Suits” from the first day but there are a few moments where there could be a passing likeness!
There are some very admin-heavy and monotonous tasks but remember that those are how you learn your craft, by learning the basics and progressing from there. If you do everything with willingness, dedication and enthusiasm, your colleagues will pick up on that and you will soon succeed.
Be curious about people and what makes them tick and understand how they have arrived at their perspectives and try to see the world from a different viewpoint to your own.