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CASE STUDY: Nathalie van Woerkom, Partner, AKD, Rotterdam

Why did you want to be a lawyer?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and value skills that are connected with being an entrepreneur, such as being focused, hardworking and a little stubborn!   When I studied law I wanted to combine the law profession with the entrepreneurial spirit that I was brought up with, which, for me, was the ideal combination. 

As corporate lawyer I know what it is to be entrepreneur - that helps me to understand the business my clients are in and the challenges they are facing.  As corporate lawyer, you can imagine yourself being an entrepreneur all the time.  Of course, you are not the one that is in charge of daily business of the corporate client, but, when it comes to material decisions, they will come to you. That is when you have to be the solid rock for the CEO or managing director that you act for, across a variety of industries.

What was the best piece of advice given to you during your career?

Never give up. The law profession - and specifically corporate law - can be tough sometimes. It helps to take one-step back to see the whole picture, so you don’t go crazy!

What’s your best piece of advice to other women wanting a legal career?

I would advise them to always believe in themselves and to stand up for themselves.

What has been your career highlight? 

My career highlight was becoming a partner and conducting my first own case.

What are your future goals? 

I like my work as corporate lawyer, and in the near future, I would like to work on larger transactions and to act for more private equity firms.  

I also used to be a non-executive board member of a listed company, and I learned a lot from that position. I would love to be appointed to further interesting non-executive board positions, and maybe also to be active in a political position.