Head of Legal Department
Farrer & Co

Head of Legal Department
Farrer & Co

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Karena V

00:00:03 I’m Karena V, and I work as the in-house lawyer at the Rugby Football Union, the Head of the Legal Department. I have to deal with all sorts of things during the course of my day, from sponsorship agreements with the Rugby Union’s main sponsors, to player disciplinary issues, and we’re building a big new South Stand at Twickenham, and there are issues with the hotel company and the gym company that are building it. Then I do rules and regulations, sort of the regulations that govern, you know, how the sport is played, and how people conduct themselves on and off the pitch. Part of what I do involves being at all the rugby matches to make sure all our hospitality that we put on for our guests and the other Unions sort of works properly.

00:00:46 So I go to all the rugby matches as well, which is obviously a great hardship. If you enjoy the sport you’re then happier, you know, to pick up the papers in the morning and find out what’s going on over the weekend. And I mean then you can contribute to discussions, or just take part in the general chat at work about what’s going on.

00:01:07 As a teen – young teenager I thought I probably wanted to be a journalist. I think I wanted to be an MP at one stage. But I started focusing much more on being a lawyer probably when I was about 15, 16, I sort of thought it was something that I might be quite interested in doing. I have – nobody was involved in the law in the family. My family are all farmers. So what I did is I went to the local firm and spent a week or so with them, just to find out what it was like. And the same with a Barrister’s Chambers, sort of just asking friends of friends if I could just come and sit, and see what it was like for the day.

00:01:44 When you’re a lawyer, things are sort of reasonably staged. So you have your two years that you do your traineeship, and then each year as you go through, you’re either a one-year qualified Solicitor, or a newly-qualified Solicitor, or a two-years, or a three years. But ultimately if you’re in private practice, your aim is to become a Partner. And so that’s what you’re working towards, and you’ll be given signs along the way as to whether you’re on the right track and you are going to make it or whether, actually, this is probably not the right firm for you. So, you know, you see that my aim was to be a Partner, which I made when I was about five years qualified.

00:02:23 A lot of people will go to Law School, and they’ll train as Solicitors, and then they might leave the Law. And the good thing about, you know, doing that, is that you’ve got this basic profession that is respected and that people understand, it gives you lots of opportunities to lead to lots of things. I knew that I was doing the right thing, and I’ve always enjoyed it and I’ve stayed with it. I would have thought probably good half to three quarters of my friends who I was at Law School with are – may not be doing Law at the moment. So it just opens up avenues really.

00:02:55 Biggest turning point in my life was probably when I got into Cambridge, that was a big turning point. And in terms of once I started work, the biggest turning point was having children, and trying to juggle working and having children because you’re so – your mind – you have to do so many different things in a day. So I think that holds you back a little bit, but it’s whether you’ve got the sort of – the courage and the energy to sort of pick it up again, and go for it again.

00:03:24 So many different high points. When I got my job at Farrer’s, that was a high point. Becoming a Partner was a high point. Getting my job at the RFU was a high point. And I think ultimately England getting to the finals of the Rugby World Cup in 2007 was a high – sorry a real high point.

00:03:43 I think in terms of your career you’ve got to – you’ve got to go – you’ve got to reach for the stars. Never think that you can’t do something, because you can always do it if you really want to do it. And take your chances, and go on your gut instinct as to what feels right, and doesn’t feel right. Because if your gut is telling you that this isn’t the right thing for you, then it’s just not going to work.

00:03:45 ENDS

Karena V is the Head of the Legal Department at the Rugby Football Union. She really enjoys her job and says, "I think in terms of your career you've got to reach for the stars. Never think that you can't do something, because you can always do it if you really want to".

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

40%  male  60%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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Solicitors advise and act on behalf of individuals, organisations, businesses and government departments in legal matters.


Entry to training usually requires a qualifying law degree or postgraduate diploma. Graduates in subjects other than law must first take a one-year conversion course. All entrants undertake a one year legal practice course, followed by a two-year training contract.


  • Draws up contracts, leases, wills and other legal documents;
  • Undertakes legal business on behalf of client in areas of business law, criminal law, probate, conveyancing and litigation, and acts as trustee or executor if required;
  • Instructs counsel in higher and lower courts and pleads cases in lower courts as appropriate;
  • Scrutinises statements, reports and legal documents relevant to the case being undertaken and prepares papers for court;
  • Represents clients in court.
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