“My perfect job doesn’t exist yet. I’ve had to create it.”
Salome Coker isn’t just a lawyer. She's also an artist and a Law Society Council member representing the City of London constituency.
In the past, Salome relegated her artistic side to evenings and weekends:
“I started to brand myself as the creative lawyer to move and inspire myself to prioritise the lifestyle that encompasses both my legal side and my creative side.”
There is some crossover between the two paths. Salome notes that her work as a writer has been somewhat shaped by the drafting of legal documents and writing numerous emails.
Not only that, but being an artist has led Salome to think innovatively about her legal work, particularly when it comes to contracts.
“A lot of what we produce is not actually user-friendly,” she says.
“We’re probably the last profession to adopt design thinking. We don’t always think about the end user, and that needs to change.”
When asked if she identifies more as a lawyer or a creative, she says, defiantly: “I’m both. I think creatively, but there’s a big part of me that’s been trained as a lawyer, so it’s hard for me to split”.
Contracting is also becoming increasingly popular among junior lawyers, and Salome felt they needed more representation on Council.
"Most law firms have some kind of contracting arm. It’s inevitable that this is how we’re going to work in the future.”
Representing the City of London
Her role as the representative for the City of London has other benefits for her career development, too.
It grants Salome automatic membership of the governing committee at the City of London Law Society Committee, which provides opportunities to engage with her peers working at City firms.
“It’s more firm led, so [has] 12 to 15 members. It really gave me access to partners and heads of firms”.
“Now, I have a network of really intelligent partners all across the City, which I wouldn’t have had without being on Council. They’re really supportive of me and my ideas.”
Finding her voice
“As a young lawyer, or a young professional, a lot of times when you attend meetings you’re there to observe – you may not feel like you can [have an] input.
"On Council, we’re all equal.
"I found my voice from being on Council, and being able to disagree respectfully and stand with conviction. It’s like a muscle – the more you use it, the more it develops.”
Looking to the future
Salome hopes that more people will engage with the Law Society Council.
“No matter who you are, you have a right to be heard, and you have value in your opinion and experience.”
Salome’s choice to conduct her career on her own terms is something she feels yet-to-be elected Council members will also bring to the table.
“I think the new generation will be even more multi-faceted… I’m starting to see more people show up to work as their authentic self. More people realise their job doesn’t have to consume every aspect of them and they can build their careers around their lives.”
Alongside her role as a Council member and her work as an artist, Salome also remains focused on her legal career:
“I’ve always believed that my perfect job doesn’t exist yet. I’ve had to create it, and that’s basically what I’ve been doing.
“I want to have a 50/50 split between my artistic practice and my legal career. I want to continue to develop and become an expert in an area.
"I also want to find something that I really enjoy, that allows me to be my creative, strategic self [while] also accepting that I have no idea what that might look like.”
Make sure your voice is heard
Our Council is made up of nearly 100 elected solicitors who advocate on behalf of the profession and make sure we focus on the issues that matter to our members most.
On 23 February, they will meet to discuss our plans for the next two years.
Tell us what you think we should prioritise for the years ahead.