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Alumna champions the fight for individuals as an Associate Solicitor

Zahra Nanji

The sandwich course appealed to me. When you have a year of industry experience when applying for jobs, you are already set apart.

Zahra, Alumni

Associate Solicitor, Leigh Day

Law LLB - 2003

From UK

Previous Institution

Bexhill College - A Levels

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

The thin sandwich at Brunel allowed me to gain a year of paralegal work experience prior to graduating. The experience I gained also allowed me to reduce my training contract from 2 years to 18 months. I was fortunate enough to secure my training contract at Powell Spencer & Partners (PSP), a high street legal aid firm, and one of the firms I worked with during my time at Brunel. PSP was a place where you are hands-on and are given tremendous responsibility at the start. I moved to Leigh Day in 2007.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I initially specialised in catastrophic injury cases such as brain and spinal injuries, however in 2017, I had the opportunity to work on a large multi-party metal on metal hip litigation, and since then I spend my days representing and fighting for individuals against some of the largest global corporations. The claims are complex and involve medicine, science and statistics. In addition, I closely work with lay clients who need support. I speak to numerous people on a daily basis from clients, barristers, defendant lawyers, medical and other experts in order to bring information together and present a case.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

It is not possible to just pinpoint one highlight. Each time you succeed on behalf of a seriously injured client, especially when you are against a large corporation when litigation can be long and drawn out, you do so in the knowledge that the successful outcome will allow that person to have hope and the chance to rebuild their lives.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

Brunel allowed me to seek out and access opportunities I would not have otherwise had. As the first of my family to attend university and as a person of colour who did not have contacts in the industry, without the start I had at Brunel, my career path would have been very different.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

The sandwich course appealed to me. I knew that I would need to have something that stood me apart. When you have a year of industry experience when applying for jobs, you are already set apart, given that you are able to apply those experiences to your applications and interviews.

What is your best memory of studying here?

The campus was always buzzing and friendly, a place where there was always somewhere to go and get involved in sports, spectatorship, eating and of course study!

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Who we are and who we want to be, that is up to us. So, get involved - don't let fear or doubt stand in your way, courageously pursue every opportunity you want.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

Be open to change and do not fear the unknown - if you don't know how to do something now, you can always learn.

#IamBrunel