Arun Birla

Arun Birla
Photograph: Alice Mutasa

What inspired you to study law?

My family – I am the youngest of my siblings and my sisters studied law so I grew up with them talking about what they were doing.

One sister ended up working in local government and the other in various sectors.

Did you receive encouragement to pursue your ambitions?

Yes definitely. I was very much influenced by my sisters studying law and received full support from my family to pursue my ambitions to become a lawyer.

Where did you study law?

Keble College, Oxford University.

Did you encounter any challenges studying law?

Yes, my A-levels were double Maths, Chemistry and Physics so very much a science backdrop. In choosing law I had to completely adapt and change my way of learning, reasoning and thinking. I also had to learn to enjoy reading lots of text!

What type of law do you specialise in?

Tax – generally advising corporates and funds on their tax position.

Why did you want to become a Law Society social mobility ambassador?

I believe it was the right role at the right time. I felt that I was at that point in my career when I can use my personal experience to help others and hopefully to also motivate and inspire them!

Furthermore, the topic of social mobility is important to me as I feel strongly that one's background should not hinder progress and what shapes you.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given regarding your career?

Work smart, be yourself, always have a go and keep the 'what ifs' to a minimum!

You should never have to look back and think that you missed an opportunity through not having a go and doing your ultimate best at whatever comes your way. And it is important that you continue to enjoy what you are doing.

Has your idea of success changed over time in your career?

Yes. You should never be complacent and realise that achieving the goals you set for yourself is not the end of the journey but rather an opportunity to move the goalposts and continue to strive to be better. Trying new things can be scary and enjoyable at the same time.

Do people have misconceptions about becoming a solicitor?

Yes. Over the years I have realised that some people tend to associate the profession only with more ‘traditional’ practices like conveyancing, probate or divorce.

The reality is that solicitors operate in various walks of life and this variety is not always known or appreciated. You could, for example, work in-house, be a family lawyer, be a regulatory lawyer or (dare I say it...) a tax lawyer.

The journey is not easy and you have to be willing to make sacrifices.

What skills would you say are essential for the job?

Good communication skills (oral and written), a willingness to work hard, persevere and never giving up.

Also, since interacting with people from all walks of life is a big part of the job, I would add a dose of patience and diplomacy.

Contact the ambassadors

If you want to ask an ambassador a question about their career or route into law, email using the address below and include their name in the subject line.

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