“I am the happiest, and most confident, I have ever been in my career.” 5 years at gunnercooke with Sian Darlington

July 31, 2023
Sian Darlington


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August 2023 marks 5 years since I joined gunnercooke. The time has flown by and I can honestly say I have loved every minute (well, most minutes anyway) and I am the happiest, and most confident, I have ever been in my career.

I joined gunnercooke back in 2018 as an Associate, and without any real expectations.  I had been working on a consultancy basis for around 4 years, having come out of private practice after having my second child, finding that the two did not mix. gunnercooke seemed a good fit with what I was already doing.

Prior to joining I thought it was simply a consultancy type of model, with lawyers working alone, only coming into the office for meetings or if they needed to use a photocopier. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I was warmly welcomed into the firm, with a full induction, introduced to colleagues, and encouraged to attend the many social and education events organised by the firm as a way of making more contacts, both internal and external. I quickly realised that there was an opportunity for me to carve out a niche within the firm, both by being the go-to criminal expert, but also to develop my financial crime advisory offering, particularly in relation to anti-money laundering and anti-bribery and corruption.

When Covid hit and the country went into lockdown in March 2020 I, like many, worried about the impact on my career – I was still at an early stage in developing my business and raising my profile both internally and externally. However, the firm embraced the use of tech and with the help of virtual coffee, speed networking, and meet the teams I was able to speak to almost every partner in the firm. Those colleagues provided advice, encouragement and identified opportunities for ways I could work with their own clients.

Lockdown also coincided with a time of expansion for the firm, particularly in London, and contrary to my anticipated reduction in workflow, I found myself with more work than ever. That momentum has continued and the constant worry of the self-employed – that the work will dry up – hasn’t happened.

I was promoted to Partner in September 2021 which has really cemented my place within the firm. I have the best of both worlds – the freedom and flexibility to work when and where I want coupled with a firm with an identity and culture which reflects my own values, brilliant and supportive colleagues and varied and interesting work. Prior to joining gunnercooke I had become disillusioned with the law and was contemplating giving it up altogether but being here has given me the motivation and confidence I needed and confirmed that I am a true lawyer at heart!

For anyone thinking about joining gunnercooke I would say go for it! You will find yourself part of a firm which embraces innovation, gives back to the community and offers all the support and resources you need to develop your practice.

Plus, the (completely optional) opportunity to join in with some fun, weird and wonderful activities – ranging from walking tours to drumming workshops, book clubs to parody videos, sports challenges, fantasy football and even a spot of TV presenting. 

If you are worried about a lack of resource compared to a traditional law firm – don’t be. The lawyers are well and truly supported by a fantastic 60 plus strong team of compliance, finance, marketing and IT experts as well as a full partner services team.

If joining gunnercooke is something you are thinking about, please feel free to contact me – I’m always happy to chat about my experiences.

To read more about Sian or her practice, click here.

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