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In conversation with the Chair of Newcastle Law School Advisory Board, Andrew Carnegie

In conversation with the Chair of Newcastle Law School Advisory Board, Andrew Carnegie

6 August 2021

We spoke to Andrew Carnegie about his journey from Newcastle University undergraduate in the 1980s to Partner at multinational law firm Clifford Chance LLP and Chair of Newcastle Law School Advisory Board.

I graduated from Newcastle Law School in 1983 with a 2:2 (I was not a star student!). Being a lawyer was not really where I saw my future, but I was persuaded by those who know me well to go to the College of Law in Chester to do my professional training course, which I passed. I was then persuaded that I was "nearly there" and should qualify, so I joined Cartmell Mawson & Main (now Cartmell Shepherd), in Carlisle.

My performance was mixed as a trainee solicitor (then an articled clerk) but I learnt a lot, made it to the end and decided to do two more years, but this time, in London.  I joined Cameron Markby (now CMS) where I learned to be a London lawyer. After two years with Cameron Markby I decided to do two more years, before really doing something other than the law.

In 1988, I joined the property practice of Clifford Chance. In 1990, I was still at Clifford Chance and by 1996 I was a Partner. I am still there, now in the finance practice, working for banks, hedge funds and private equity firms doing mainly real estate finance related work.

I have a few takeaways from my experience that I'd like to share with others:

Be determined and have an overall plan, but don't worry if you do not go forward in a perfectly conventional way.  Adapt as you go along. Whilst at Clifford Chance, I have been a property lawyer, an insolvency lawyer (sort of), a capital markets lawyer (a little bit) and a finance lawyer.

I have read books, learned to communicate better (still not perfect), listened to people (vital) and been ready to try new things.

Friendships made at Newcastle have stood the test of time. Keep in touch with some of those around you, you will go forward and be successful together.

As for my "Plan A" business career, well, I will get to that one day! (Though, to be a Partner in a top law firm, one has to be pretty good at business as well as the law).