Natalie Van Woerkom
Partner, AKD, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so grew up in a culture of 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 such, as a corporate lawyer, this commercial thinking helps me to understand the business my clients are in and the challenges they are facing. As well as being a lawyer, I have also held a non-executive board member position, where I learned a lot about how business is done. Yes, our clients want our legal expertise, but we also have to have solid commercial sense to advise the CEO or managing director that you act for, across a variety of industries.
I enjoy the challenge of my career, but it’s no secret that the law profession - and specifically corporate law - can be tough sometimes. The best piece of advice I was given was to never give up… and sometimes, it helps to take one-step back to see the whole picture, so you don’t go crazy!
Now I am a partner, I am responsible for a team of younger lawyers and I always advise them to always believe in themselves and to stand up for themselves.