Zubin’s graduate journey into law
Zubin Kanji left UEA in 2021 with a Law LLB and has recently finished a postgraduate qualification in competition law at King’s College London. This month, Zubin starts as a paralegal at Samsung, and in 2024 Zubin will join elite global law firm Baker McKenzie in London as a Trainee Solicitor.
Zubin kindly gave his time to tell us about how UEA kickstarted his law career and how current students can look to gain skills and experience.
I cannot stress how instrumental getting involved in extracurricular activities and societies was to my successes in applications and the workplace.
What have you been up to since leaving UEA?
Since leaving UEA, I took advantage of the many benefits our “new normal” has to offer. I spent eight months travelling across North America and Europe, all while running a personal training business (remotely) to fund my travels and studying a postgraduate degree in EU Competition Law at King’s College London (through distance-learning).
I now work in London as a paralegal at Samsung, a global tech company, where I advise on a range of pan-European competition/antitrust, data protection, marketing, intellectual property, and other general corporate and commercial matters. After the graduate scheme, I will join Baker McKenzie, a multinational law firm headquartered in Chicago, USA, as a trainee lawyer in the firm’s London office.
Why did you decide to study at UEA?
I get asked this all the time. I’m a city guy; before moving to the UK for university, I lived and worked in Hong Kong, Toronto, and Beijing, and spent lots of time in Los Angeles and New York City. Unsurprisingly, Norwich seemed like an unlikely destination for me! Nonetheless, after seeing photographs of UEA’s beautiful campus, researching the historical and scenic city of Norwich, and reading about UEA’s highly regarded Law School, I knew that studying here would be an extremely worthwhile experience.
Have you always been interested in law?
No - growing up, I actually hated reading! Instead, my academic interests involved competing in international mathematics competitions and learning about entrepreneurship and economics, which sparked my curiosity in the intersection between geopolitics and global business. This not only motivated me to read more, but it also helped me discover the many roles law plays in enabling sustainable innovation and influencing positive social and technological change. Soon enough, I knew that a career in international commercial law was the right choice for me.
Why do you think you were chosen for your upcoming roles?
I was chosen because I learned how to draw out and demonstrate transferable skills which I acquired through my diverse work and life experiences, such as teamwork, adaptability, discipline, and inventiveness. I also made every effort to network with current employees at the firms/companies I was targeting. These steps, combined with strong academics and commercial awareness, are the reasons I believe I was chosen for my graduate roles.
How did UEA prepare you for law as a profession?
UEA is home to an internationally renowned Law School with faculty and academic resources stretching across many areas of legal practice. Because of this, I was able to deeply engage in seminars and learn first-hand from leading authorities in fields of law which most interested me. I also attended numerous career-related events, such as law fairs, webinars, and dinners, which provided invaluable insight into what practising law actually looks like. Moreover, I frequently spoke with my academic advisor and professors (many of whom used to practice law), which allowed me to receive personalised advice on how to build my career.
Did you do any extra-curricular activities while at UEA? Did these give you any skills you’ve used elsewhere?
I cannot stress how instrumental getting involved in extracurricular activities and societies was to my successes in applications and the workplace. For example, I competed in several Law School competitions, which helped me enhance my negotiation, client interviewing, and drafting – skills I use daily. Additionally, I joined Oakwood, UEA’s own student-run ESG investment fund, as Risk and Compliance Manager, where I gained valuable insight into the world of finance, sustainability, and international markets – all things relevant to a career in commercial law. I even organised a four-hour seminar on ESG and Green Finance for over 120 members of UEA’s student body, which helped me increase my confidence when speaking in front of senior stakeholders, something I do every day at Samsung.
What is your favourite UEA memory?
While I want to say the top highlights of my UEA experience were my lectures and seminars, the countless nights out are my favourite memories of UEA. Nearly every night of the week, there would be another fancy dress-themed party at the LCR, more amazing friends to meet, and more late-night Domino’s Pizza orders to devour. I’m definitely missing the £2 pints now that I’m living in London!
And what advice would you give to Law students or recent graduates looking for employment?
Firstly, get as involved in extracurriculars as possible – whether that means competing in competitions, being an analyst for the student investment fund, participating in sports teams, or being the social secretary for a cultural society. These all help build your soft skills, which provide unique experiences for you to draw upon when interviewing at, or when writing applications to, law firms.
Secondly, network, network, network! I cannot stress this enough. When applying, I probably sent 2-3 cold messages on LinkedIn every day, and while most people didn’t respond, the ones who did were often willing to have a ten-minute chat with me about their career path, which can be so rewarding.
Finally, soak up all the love - the friends you make at university are sometimes life-long mates, but sometimes people lose touch. So, go on that extra night out, meet that old friend for coffee, or ask that person out for a drink – your time at UEA flies by so profoundly quickly, you’ll regret every moment you didn’t make the most of.
For students/graduates who are looking to apply to the top US/UK law firms, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to grab coffee or hop on a call and share some of my experiences. UEA gave me so much – the least I could do is try to give something back.
Zubin studied LLB Law at UEA.