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Lawyer stories:
How to make law more edible

LOD lawyer Kay Ma tells us about her journey from law to setting up her own cake business!

The beginnings of my story may be familiar for many law and LPC graduates who joined the rat race amidst the financial crisis. Leaving law school without a training contract quickly became my own crisis! So I embarked on a longer and slightly unusual journey to qualification, eventually training and qualifying in-house in a two-person legal team in an international IT company. Training this way ended up being extremely invigorating; I was learning to run, not walk, and soon after qualification I was already thinking “what next?”.

That’s when I read about LOD. My initial thoughts were that this would be a great way to develop my legal career across multiple industries. I saw an opportunity to work in a range of different companies and legal teams that varied in size, set-up and types of work.

I contacted LOD, explained that I had qualified in-house not long ago and now I wanted to try something different. I went to the interview, took the technical test, and then I waited (I actually only waited a week, but waiting is not a virtue I have, despite my detour to qualification!). In an attempt to distract myself, I walked up the O2 – not something you do every day… Whilst at the top, I took my phone out to take a snap of my then office, and saw an email from LOD pop up on my screen. I had passed!

As I started planning for my new chapter, it dawned on me that this was not only an opportunity for my legal career, but also for another goal I have: to turn my love for baking into a business.

My baking generally has had two reactions from people: either “Wow, you should open your own cake shop one day [when you’re not a lawyer]!” or “Don’t be ridiculous.”. Despite one being positive and one negative, both reactions ultimately gave the same opinion – law and cakes are mutually exclusive*. No-one would ever take a cake-maker seriously as a lawyer and a serious lawyer would have no time for a cake business. Very few people were telling me that it is possible to do both… that was, until I became an LOD lawyer.

LOD were not aware of my baking initially, because I was used to trying to keep lawyer-Kay and cake-Kay separate. I mentioned it under “interests” in my CV, but generally didn’t elaborate much more in conversations that centred around my legal career. It was between my first and second assignment when I told LOD. By chance, Cake International 2015 was taking place at London Excel during this time. I had previously taken home Bronze awards in the sculpted novelty cake category of Cake International’s 2013 and 2014 competitions, so I used the downtime between LOD assignments to work full-time on my 2015 competition cake. I managed to win Bronze again, and showed the cake to LOD HQ. They were really excited for me, and have since fully supported both my cake-making and my legal work.

As an LOD lawyer, I can work full-time (or part-time depending on the assignment and my own wishes) and, at other times, I can work on building my cake business. Ok, let’s be more ambitious (because that’s what lawyers are apparently), I can work on building a cake EMPIRE! I am now a lawyer who can proudly say “Follow me on Instagram: @MiuKayBakes” (one perk of baking cakes is that I can show my work to the world without breaching confidentiality!). I am really happy and relieved to have found a way to pursue both careers, without having to choose between the two.

* the making of, not the eating – no-one has ever suggested to me that lawyers can’t eat cake, thank goodness!

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