Susi Dunn, Associate solicitor

Job Title: Associate solicitor

Susi is a graduate of the University of Leeds, who kindly granted permission to reproduce her profile here.

Susi, you work for a leading international law firm – Herbert Smith LLP. What is your role within the firm?
I am an associate solicitor working in the Trusts and Charities group in the London office. We advise individuals, charities and corporate and pensions trustees with regard to all aspects of trusts and estates law, including setting up trusts, making wills and related issues. Much of the work has an international element. I also act in contentious matters where my analytical skills are useful in reviewing and preparing legal submissions.

Your degree is in Mathematics. Did you always know you wanted to work in the legal profession?
I had always thought about being a lawyer, but only decided to pursue it when a friend, who had also not studied Law as an undergraduate, started the conversion course. I studied for the post-graduate diploma in Law (a one year conversion course) and immediately liked Equity & Trusts, which is the area I now practise in.

Did having a degree in Mathematics help you get into the profession and are there any links you have perceived between your role as a solicitor and mathematics?
I’m not sure it was particularly relevant in terms of getting my training contract (although my firm does recruit people from a diverse range of backgrounds). However, there does seem to be a link between mathematics and the area I practise in: at one time, the only two mathematics graduates in the firm were working in the Trusts and Charities Group.

I think the general thought processes and logical approach that result from studying mathematics are applicable to my work in trusts and charities law.
The study of pure mathematics, in particular, has given me a logical and problem-solving approach which I use in my work. In terms of structuring legal arguments, I do sometimes refer back to the structure of mathematical proofs (which I think is probably quite unusual in law!)

What do you like most about your work as a solicitor within Trusts & Charities?
The technical aspects of the law of trusts and the personal interest issues involved in advising individuals and charities are two of the main aspects of my work that I like.

Do you think employers value a Mathematics Degree? Is the University of Leeds perceived as being a reputable university?
Yes, employers do value graduates with mathematics degrees. There are other Leeds graduates in my firm. In fact, university backgrounds are varied across all levels of the firm. I think the fact that there is a presence from Leeds reflects positively on the University.

Apart from your degree, have you any other strong influences as a result of your time in the School of Mathematics?
Professor John Truss was my mentor while I was studying maths and we are still in regular contact.
I was also involved in the Maths Society in my final year and, through this, got to know more people in the department. The social life (outside maths) was brilliant when I was a student in Leeds.