Marie Hansen enjoys a classic portfolio career. Having spent 9 years in litigation with Simpson Grierson, she is now an anti-money laundering consultant to Smith & Partners, charged with developing their AML Compliance Program. Catch up with Marie in this Q&A on her career, teaching at the College, and advice she has for students to make the most of PLSC.
What does your job involve?
After 9 years of being a full time litigator in a range of disciplines, most of which was spent at Simpson Grierson, I have been lucky enough to achieve a much better work life balance since having my son. I now have a portfolio career of sorts, using my legal skills in a different way – as an Anti-Money Laundering consultant to Smith & Partners (I have developed and implemented their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Programme over the last few years), and as a PLSC instructor. I have also just started teaching in the College's LLM (Applied Law) programme.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Although AML is very dry, I have really enjoyed the learning process. I have gone from knowing nothing about it four years ago to being an expert in law firms’ obligations under the Act.
In terms of being a litigator, settling something for a client was always a kick. A relief for the client and for the lawyer! Particularly after a long day of mediation.
How did you come to work in this area?
I first thought about being a lawyer when we did a mock criminal trial in 4th form (year 10) social studies. It seemed to fit with my strengths in English, drama and debating. Ironically once I got to law school I became petrified of doing any mock trials. It was only once I did PLSC that I became interested in being a litigator again.
What advice would you have for students keen to practice in your area of law?
Graduates working in small firms or for barristers are given a lot more responsibility and a lot more court time up front. If you really want to be a litigator, this is a great training ground. Don’t assume doing the drudge work (for example hours and hours of discovery) for the first few years at the big firms is the best option. The big firms are still an option later – they appreciate the hands on experience you have obtained elsewhere.
What do you enjoy about teaching at The College of Law?
I have always enjoyed mentoring younger lawyers so passing on my knowledge to The College of Law students is a great fit for me. I enjoy helping students appreciate the different considerations they need to take into account in practice, as it is very different to law school. I like knowing that they will enter practice providing a much better service to clients (and to their superiors) than they would have without my feedback.
From your perspective as an Instructor, how can students make the most of PLSC?
Make time to read all the materials and make the effort with the work. You and your employer may see PLSC as an annoyance but if you put the work in you will be a much better lawyer and a much better employee.