Natasha Mafunga joined Pannone Corporate at the start of the year as a solicitor in the dispute resolution team. In the latest in our blog series, My Life in Law, Natasha reflects on the first nine months of her at career at the firm, her love of people and problem solving, what she would do if she was managing partner for the day and the Broadway career that never was!
Tell us a little bit about your role at Pannone?
I work in the dispute resolution team and, since I joined in January, I’ve developed a mixed caseload consisting of commercial litigation work on the one hand and contentious probate and trusts work on the other.
That’s what really appealed to me about the job – I liked the idea of doing commercial litigation work alongside contentious probate and trusts. What’s more, the firm has a clear progression route and invests in the development of its people – people who, I might add, are absolutely lovely to work with, which applies across all teams!
What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?
After completing my A-levels in Law, Psychology and Sociology, I went down the ‘traditional’ route of getting my LLB undergraduate law degree at the University of Chester, before getting a training contract and qualifying. I was able to do my training contract alongside my LPC MSC in Law, Business and Management, which I did part time. It was tough at times juggling work and doing my LPC, but I managed to get through it fairly unscathed!
Why did you choose this route?
I didn’t really consider any other route at the time. I was lucky enough to be able to get a postgraduate loan for my LPC, as I was doing it alongside my masters. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to fund my course.
Tell us what does a typical day look like?
No day is ever really the same. It usually starts of with me updating my to-do list from the previous day, checking my calendar for upcoming meetings and deadlines and trying to get my head down with the hopes of crossing a task off the list. My tasks can range from having phone calls with clients, opponents and third parties, responding to emails and drafting letters and court documents, all the way through to attending conferences with counsel or even court hearings. It’s always important to keep an eye on upcoming deadlines and have the Civil Procedure Rules to hand at all times.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
I enjoy working with people and problem solving. The work I do as part of the contentious probate and trusts team especially allows me to see how much of a real difference my colleagues and I can make to people’s lives, often in very sensitive and stressful circumstances.
Looking ahead, what are your career ambitions?
Simply put, I want to be the best solicitor I can be in my areas of specialism and provide a great service to my clients. In doing that, I trust that I will always be rewarded with progression. Who knows, it might lead me to joining the partnership one day.
Talking of being a partner, if you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do?
I like the idea of a 30-minute wellness session where employees can do some simple yoga, meditation or breathing techniques to clear the 1,000 tabs that are always open in our minds at any one time.
Keeping your managing partner hat on, what can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients?
Its important to always be clear on costs from the outset and not be afraid to continue raising the subject with clients throughout. De-mystifying the process and the costs likely to be involved will ensure that clients keep coming to you for advice.
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
From about 2020, I got into walking and hiking, as you couldn’t really do much else at the time due to Covid. Now it’s one of my favourite things to do.
What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law?
Apparently I can be quite dramatic, so I imagine I would’ve been a world famous Broadway actress by now. If only the law hadn’t got to me first!
On that note, it shouldn’t surprise colleagues about your previous skills and talent!
No! I played a lead role in an adaptation of We Will Rock You the musical in high school. The talent being I can memorise a script fairly quickly. Hopefully that footage never sees the light of day!