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The Dickson Poon School of Law ;

The role of the in-house lawyer: Q&A with Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB, 2012)

Law alumni in action
Alexis Beaumont

Alumni & Stakeholder Engagement Manager for The Dickson Poon School of Law

16 March 2023

Roshiny Panchalingam graduated from The Dickson Poon School of Law in 2012, taking on a role at a London tech law firm before making the switch to become an in-house lawyer at Net A Porter. Roshiny now practices as Legal Counsel for top luxury retailer Selfridges, and volunteers her time as a King's alumna, sharing CV advice with current students at the recent King's Connect Mentoring Meet-Up. As part of our Alumni in Action series, Roshiny shared what she loves most about the role of the in-house lawyer and what motivates her to 'give back' to King's as a member of our alumni community.

Roshiny Panchalingam 2

You’ve gained experienced in various internal legal positions from Charlotte Tilbury, Net A Porter, and now as Legal Counsel at Selfridges. What’s unique to the in-house lawyer role?

I was fortunate enough, during my training contract, to take on a client secondment at globally renowned make-up brand, Charlotte Tilbury. The secondment was my first foray into the in-house retail world and looking back, the experience planted the seed for me to return to an in-house role later on in my career.

After graduation, I was certain a career in the city as a solicitor was the right path for me. I was offered a role at a top technology boutique law firm in London as a Commercial Technology Associate and, after 2.5 years at the firm, I applied for my first in-house role at Net A Porter.

Working as a commercial solicitor at Charlotte Tilbury, I really enjoyed the buzz and fast-paced nature of supporting my business stakeholders on palpable projects. The experience of seeing a project through from start to finish was highly rewarding and quite a contrast to the role of a private practice solicitor whereby supporting one piece of work wouldn’t necessarily give me the whole picture of a client’s wider business strategy. The team at Net A Porter was also an extremely lean team and the role was heavily reliant on my abilities to build relationships with my stakeholders.

As an in-house lawyer, I found the level of independence and freedom I had to run my own matters directly with stakeholders was hugely rewarding when compared to private practice.– Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB, 2012)

As of January 2023, I have moved to Selfridges as Legal Counsel. As a mid-level lawyer at another top luxury retailer, I have been able to combine my experience as a legal advisor in a retail business with my strong technical capabilities as a commercial lawyer. One of the highlights of progressing my career in many different environments is that I have built up a robust, varied, and interesting network of former colleagues who are willing to support and guide me throughout my career.

You recently volunteered at King's, providing CV advice to current students. What motivated you to ‘give back’ in this way?

Although it may be a case that the outcome of another student’s journey is completely different to mine, I thoroughly enjoyed putting my experience to good use by helping other students who are currently at the start of their career journey. This is something I would have valued when I was a student myself.

Additionally, although diversity and inclusion is a huge agenda of many city law firms and businesses, I distinctly remember noticing as a university student, the lack of female ethnic minority solicitors in the city. This was often a consideration for me when I was on my application journey, that perhaps I couldn’t be what I couldn’t see in the profession. Having built the building blocks of my career, I firmly believe representation truly matters and I hope that talking to and supporting current students will help them to identify with and be able to imagine themselves as belonging in the field too.

It was an incredibly humbling experience to return to King’s as an established legal professional to “give back” to the current students. Although I still see myself as having a long road ahead in building out my career, I felt that all of the peaks and setbacks I have so far experienced were worth sharing with current students.– Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB, 2012)

Why did you decide to study Law at King’s?

Throughout school I was an avid member of the debating society and was highly captivated by the subjects of English Literature, and History. Studying law seemed like the perfect avenue that would combine my academic strengths, whilst allowing me to explore my debating skills.

King’s has long held a position as a well-respected and rigorous academic institution and I liked the idea that I’d be challenged throughout my degree. To ensure that the environment was also the right fit for me, I went along to a King's open day where I met fellow prospective students and attended a taster lecture on the subject of criminal law. I thoroughly enjoyed the subject matter as well as the application of the law to real-life scenarios, which convinced me that this would be the right course for me.

Additionally, having the Royal Courts of Justice, the Law Society and Inns of Court all on my doorstep throughout my studies made King’s an obvious choice for me.– Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB, 2012)
Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB 2012)

As a student at King's, which Societies and Clubs were you involved with?

Alongside my studies, I immersed myself in Clubs and Societies at King’s. In my first year, I took part in the KCL Mini Moot which was a demanding, yet stimulating, mock trial scenario where two sides argue a point of law in front of an acting judge. Volunteering with KCL Amicus gave me a powerful insight into how useful my skills could be in the field of pro bono work. Additionally, I worked as a reporter for the KCL Red Tape Legal magazine, testing my ability to write stimulating articles on the exciting and newsworthy legal cases unravelling in court at the time, such as the Julian Assange Wikileaks case.

Choosing modules that truly interest you is also important to ensure you are best placed to perform well throughout the year as well as in your exams.– Roshiny Panchalingam (LLB, 2012)

What advice would you give to those unable to decide on law at King’s?

I found law at King’s intellectually stimulating and challenging and as a result, it fostered some of the key skills I rely upon in my career today such as problem-solving and the ability to interpret complex information quickly and concisely. I’d encourage full participation and engagement in classes by asking questions and discussing or debating case judgements.

King’s attracts some of the top law firms and graduate employers in the country by hosting networking events and law fairs throughout the year. I’d advise going along to these events even if you are not sure if it is for you.


Law alumni in action

What came next for our law school graduates? In these Q&A interviews, we hear from alumni from The Dickson Poon School of Law.

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