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From me to you: Dagmara Selwyn-Kuczera celebrates International Women's Day 2021

Dagmara joined the property team at Goodman Derrick in 2008 and became a partner in 2014.  She handles a broad range of commercial property transactions, with particular emphasis on investment, landlord & tenant and secured lending, including development finance. She also acts for high net worth individuals, looking after their property interests.

Q&A

What inspired you to become a lawyer? And where did you find personal drive to commit to the study and a life of learning and advising?  

When I was young I wanted to be a doctor. Eventually it dawned on me, however, that the fact that I had little aptitude for science and could not watch an episode of Casualty without covering my eyes at the first sight of blood, I would have to rethink my career choice. Although I am not exactly sure why, law seemed like an obvious alternative (as long as I kept away from personal injury). The importance of hard work and good work ethic was instilled in me from an early age (my mum was a high school teacher) so that set me up well for the future. A decent memory combined with common sense, a pragmatic approach to problems and appreciating that sometimes you may just have to compromise to get a result, have also played a part.

Let’s be honest, the profession can be tough and the recent pandemic has made some things even tougher, have you found resilience hard to come by? You have probably surprised yourself too…  

Many of us have found lockdown tough, for various reasons. I am quite lucky to have a good WFH set-up, having worked from home one day a week for a number of years, but it was having to juggle work and home-schooling that has been the biggest challenge for me personally - I have a very strong-minded, active 7-year old and I can safely say that not going into teaching, which I had also considered (briefly), was definitely a wise move! We have all had to adapt our way of working over the past year and there will be many positives we can take from it.          

If you were to advise the young woman that walked through the door for your first work experience job, what would you say?   

Show interest and ask questions. Talk to as many lawyers as you can about their experiences - it may surprise you how candid most will be!

And finally do you have any advice for the young lawyers starting out today, have things truly changed? 

When I was a trainee in the early 2000s, I remember making trips to the Law Society library to find an obscure case report or precedent. Now all the resources are online. Technology has played a big part in changing the way we work and many of us have embraced the paperless culture. What hasn’t changed is the need for lawyers to understand their clients’ needs and objectives and to give practical, commercial advice. So focus on understanding the issues and finding solutions not simply identifying problems. Also work on developing professional relationships with your contemporaries from day one - as your career progresses, so will theirs and this will lead to opportunities in the future.

From me to you: Goodman Derrick’s female lawyers celebrate International Women’s Day

Goodman Derrick are celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of interviews with senior associates and partners.

Reflecting upon a career in law, Goodman Derrick’ senior associates and partners have shared their early career stories and their experiences of working through the pandemic, providing guidance for the younger generation at the start of their careers.

Our lawyers’ interviews are available to read by clicking here.

Goodman Derrick LLP

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