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60 second Q&A with Sarah Hawes

What was your career path like? Did you always want to work in this field?

I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was 15, although in those days I would have imagined myself in a criminal courtroom rather than an M&A negotiation. I really enjoyed doing deals and when I stopped enjoying it and knew I had to do something different, I was lucky enough that the firm provided me with a professional support lawyer opportunity.

What do you wish someone had told you early in your career?

Be yourself and cultivate personal relationships, both inside and outside the firm. We are in a people business and the right legal answer will only get you so far.

What tips do you have for all the women coming up behind you?

Speak up – for yourself, for your colleagues, for opportunities – don’t let a lack of confidence or seniority hold you back.

What woman inspires you and why?

Over the years I have had a number of inspirational role models and mentors within the firm (some female, some male) – what they each have in common is that they have charted their own path and are generous with their time. I am particularly grateful for the ongoing counsel of Michael Shaw (ex-HSF partner, now GC at a large UK retail bank), Carol Shutkever and Nicola Yeomans.

Where do you see the future taking you?

That is a very good question that I ask myself regularly! I am not sure I ever envisaged my career outside the confines of the London office, but after a year in Southeast Asia, well, who knows where could be next.