Q&A with Caroline De Souza – Corporate and Commercial Lawyer31Oct2016
Caroline joined Tanner De Witt in 2012 and is building a name for herself in the mid cap acquisition space. She has experience across a wide range of industries including luxury fashion, healthcare, technology, F&B and retail.
Why did you choose to become a lawyer?
I grew up around lawyers and I think that has, to some degree, influenced my own decision to study law at university and to practise law.
Law is an interesting subject for me and it is a discipline that is constantly evolving to reflect changes in the wider economy and society as a whole. For example, two decades years ago, mobile commerce did not really exist in the mainstream, but now it is everywhere and the law, as well as lawyers, must adapt to keep up with advances in technology. All in all this makes for an interesting and varied career.
Describe a typical day at work.
I am a morning person by nature, so I generally like to start my day early by catching up on the latest local and international news, checking my emails and my diary for the day. I adjust my work schedule daily if urgent matters crop up or the deadlines change. Beyond that there really is no such thing as a typical day at work because I could be doing anything from negotiating the terms of a major acquisition at 4 a.m. to writing a legal opinion on loan finance documentation.
What part of being a lawyer do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?
As a lawyer, I get to work for and with all kinds of people from all walks of life and different countries, which I personally think is great.
In a perfect world, everything will always go smoothly and according to plan. However, in reality things sometimes do not go entirely according to plan for reasons wholly outside your control and you have to be prepared to react to such situations as and when they arise and be able to come up with workable solution. This is true even in the legal profession. Such challenges keep the work interesting and, ultimately when you successfully pull off the contingency plan, make it extremely rewarding.
Being a lawyer can be stressful at times, how do you maintain a good work-life balance?
I am fortunate to work with a great team of people here at Tanner De Witt, which as almost everyone will tell you, is a major motivator.
I also believe that in order to be a good lawyer and to perform to the best of one’s abilities, one needs to have quality downtime to fully unwind. I love yoga, fine dining, travel and spending time with my family (though, in case anyone is wondering, not necessarily in that order). I also have a fantastic personal trainer who puts me through my paces every week.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received during your legal career?
A valuable piece of advice I have been given in the past is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture because it can be all too easy to get distracted by the smaller details. Clients often do not need (nor want) a watertight contract- they just need to know and be advised of the risks, so that they can make a decision. I think this advice is highly relevant in almost any business context.
If you had not become a lawyer, what other professions would you have considered?
I would probably be working in the fashion industry. Between university and qualifying as a lawyer, I spent time working in the fashion arm of a multinational conglomerate, which was a wonderful and valuable experience for a fresh graduate.
You may find out more about Caroline here.