Interview with Ria Moody from Barclays: top tips for law students

Aspiring in-house solicitors - increasing the visibility of the in-house career path

From Lexis®PSL In-house: In the fifth part of our series looking at the work of Aspiring Solicitors, an organisation aiming to increase diversity in the legal profession, Ria Moody, an associate in the operations and technology legal team at Barclays, shares what motivated her to become an ambassador and offers her top tips for students wanting a career in law.

Ria MoodyWhat is your background?

I am an associate working in the operations and technology legal team at Barclays. I have been in this role since I qualified in 2013.

Why did you sign up to be a professional ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors?

I first learned about Aspiring Solicitors via a colleague at Barclays who was going to assist at an Aspiring Solicitors commercial awareness event and was asking for volunteers to accompany him. At the event I was struck by founder Chris Whites' energy and enthusiasm, and by how much the attendees seemed to be getting out of the experience. I asked Chris how I could become more involved and he suggested becoming a professional ambassador. I signed up on the spot.

In your opinion, what more could the in-house community be doing to support diversity?

I think the most important thing the in-house community needs to provide is visibility. This could be via mentoring, attending events at a range of universities and colleges, or offering and facilitating work experience schemes. I believe it is crucial to provide the opportunity to meet and speak to in-house lawyers to those young people who may not otherwise have the chance, or indeed even know that this career path exists.

What legal and/or soft skills do you think are most important for aspiring in-house lawyers?

All lawyers need to be meticulous with good attention to detail. They also need to be good communicators. I think that in-house lawyers in particular need to be capable of managing competing demands and different stakeholders' needs. This requires an ability to prioritise the most urgent demands while ensuring that others do not feel overlooked.

As an ambassador, how do you support and encourage aspiring solicitors to gain and improve skills such as leadership, teamwork, networking and communication?

In order to gain and improve relevant skills, I encourage aspiring solicitors to attend the events run or publicised by Chris. Students should also check their university careers department for events or courses that are relevant to the profession.

In order to build their skills and CV, I would encourage aspiring solicitors to consider taking on positions of responsibility or that will promote and demonstrate skills development within their daily lives - for example within a part-time job or voluntary role, or university committee or team, etc.
I would also recommending reading a quality business publication to improve commercial awareness and confidence in discussing business issues.

Which conferences, networking events and publications would you recommend to aspiring in-house lawyers?

As I mentioned above, I recommend attending events run by Chris or by colleges and universities, and reading a financial publication. I also suggest reading the legal press to learn about wider trends and developments in the profession, as well as signing-up to legal update emails from industry experts in specific fields of interest.
More information about Aspiring Solicitors can be found here.

This interview is taken from Lexis PSL In-house, request a free trial here.

Interviewed by Helen Redding.
The views expressed by our Legal Analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor.

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