Lianne Craig features in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 career quiz
In January 2021, The Lawyer published its Hot 100 list for 2021, recognising London Partner and Head of Commercial Disputes, Lianne Craig. This week she partook in their ‘career quiz’, sharing more information about her career and some words of wisdom. The interview is as follows.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
While doing my corporate seat, I inadvertently smoked a cigarette in the head of department’s office having misunderstood the directions given to me by one of the night secretaries in the small hours during a closing. She had kindly waved me towards the end office belonging to a senior associate who was, for some reason, allowed to smoke at his desk, but I was new in the department and got the directions completely wrong. Five minutes later, she found me sat swinging in Daniel Kossoff’s chair, cigarette in hand and wondering why there was no ashtray if he was such a big smoker…
She quickly ushered me out, no one ever found out about it (and I sensibly gave up smoking a few years later!)
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
During the first lockdown, I was dealing with an extremely challenging situation and my eldest daughter asked: “Mama, why do you think Mother Nature has sent you this problem? What lesson is there for you to learn?”
I love that my children are often way wiser than I am. I now try to ask myself ‘where’s the lesson?’ when faced with something particularly tricky. The answer is usually staring me in the face!
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside Anthony Maton for the past 10 years at Hausfeld. I have learned a huge amount from him; not only is he often ahead of the curve in terms of his approach to the business of law, but he brings an unflappable optimism and positivity to work, not to mention particularly enlightened views with regards work vs other priorities in life.
Anthony took a punt on me when I was still pretty green and since then has afforded me both the space to grow and develop as a partner along with the encouragement and support to push myself out of my comfort zone. With this has come the confidence to fail from time to time – a hugely liberating step in my career development!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
If you can get to a point in your career when you genuinely enjoy what you do and are passionate about it, work takes on a completely new dimension. Finding your professional ‘home’ is critical to that: a firm or business where you share values with your colleagues and can be yourself.
Say ‘yes’ more often: to the challenges you think might be beyond you and to the projects you are worried might lead to failure. You will succeed more often than you think but you should accept too that you will sometimes fail (and that that’s okay).
At the same time as practising your best ‘yes’, learn to say ‘no’: set boundaries wisely and respect them yourself otherwise no-one else will.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
She’s a full-time mum having given up the law long ago.