Subject: Aasha Shahzadi
On a cloudy afternoon, Aasha Shahzadi shared her story as a 25-year-old commercial lawyer in one of London’s most established law firms with me.
She starts off by explaining what sparked her passion for law.
What got you into law?
My initial interest sparked from witnessing my uncle’s residency application. Watching solicitors deal with the complex residency situation illustrated the great power law can have over people’s lives.
For those of us who don’t know much about law what is a residency application?
So, this is when a person from another country applies to stay in the UK. They can be very difficult to deal with.
Working at Linklaters must be tense. How do you find commercial law?
It is challenging and no day is the same. It really develops you as a person. I mostly play an independent role but if required I do a bit of group work. I got the job with a training contract and I’ve been working here for 7 months now. Working for such a highly respected firm is amazing because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And the best thing is everybody around you is welcoming and more than happy to help you. It’s a faced paced environment. There’s a lot going on.
Do you feel it is sometimes too competitive and/or negative?
It is to an extent but during my short time there so far it has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have been able to adapt to the environment.
Do you think being a young female in an occupation known for being male-dominated has negatively affected you in any way?
I’m sure there are problems for people but for me, everything has been smooth. Every stage of the employment process, in my opinion, has been fair as was my time at the University of Nottingham. However, usually, people think young people like me don’t have much experience and expertise, but I believe that personal development matters more than age.
You’ve accomplished so much already. Are there any goals you want to achieve in the future?
Because I’ve given so much time to establishing my legal career, I know that I want to help people in other ways too and help them in difficult situations similar to the one my uncle was put through.
Finally, Britain is leaving the EU later on today. In your personal opinion, do you think we should have left or stayed in the EU?
I believe people were misinformed about Brexit on both sides and unfortunately, we are leaving. People didn’t understand the repercussions of the decision and the effect this would have on trade deals etc. But the decision has been made and we need to keep an open mind.