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Insight into Realities of Law Career

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Old Boy Jarlath Pratt returned to Bolton School to talk to students in Year 13 about his career in law. He attended the Boys’ Division from 1994 to 1999 and went on to study Law at London School of Economics and Political Science.

He spoke briefly about his decision to do a law degree, and the fact that he has sometimes thought it might have been interesting to do something else, but came to the conclusion that it was the best choice for him as he always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. However, he advised the current Sixth Form that if they weren’t sure, doing a degree in something that interests them and then going to law school afterwards might be a good option.

Jarlath went on to chart his career, including his year at law school and his first job as a junior lawyer. He talked about what it is really like, both good and bad, and described one memorable occasion when he went to work on a Wednesday morning and didn’t leave until the following Friday morning! He said this was a really exciting occasion, as they were closing a big deal, but at the same time exhausting.

Eventually, he decided to move on from the law firm and became an in-house lawyer for Barclays. Again, he talked about the pros and cons of this move, including the much more regular hours. He also discussed the differences between working for a law firm, where lawyers are part of the function of the business, and working for a bank, where lawyers are a cost.

Jarlath now works for GIC, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and is the Head of Legal in Europe. He talked about what it is like to work for a foreign investment firm including travel, stability in his job, and lots of meetings and networking. He went into some details about the kinds of deals and investments that he offers legal advice on and manages legal processes for, why governments have these investment funds, and where the money comes from. This gave an interesting insight into ‘trickle down’ economics.

Throughout his presentation, Jarlath stressed the importance of work experience and extra-curricular activities. He said that although he was never very good at rugby, the fact that he played for School and university teams is still on his CV: he advised that this sort of thing always gives something engaging to talk about during interviews. He also described some of the qualities that he found to be vital for a lawyer, including attention to detail and enthusiasm.

At the end of the talk, the students asked pertinent and mature questions to make the most of Jarlath’s visit.

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