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Interview with Mary Allan

Mary Allan
Mary Allan

What has been your most memorable moment as a lawyer? 

I was a completely untrained paralegal working in Cairo and I remember feeling immediately at home with legal practice. My mother was a mathematician and my father an English literature teacher, so law seemed to combine both sides of my heritage. To me, law has always been about problem solving. Like maths with words.

If you weren’t a lawyer, how would you earn your living? 

As either a fashion journalist or a psychologist, but ideally both at the same time if that were possible. I came into the law after several years of teaching English literature and drama. So, these two alternative careers would lead me back towards my creative and intuitive sides.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

The opening line from Sylvia Plath's poem, The Munich Mannequins, which reads: “Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children.” I need to be reminded at times that perfection, if achievable at all, would in fact be sterility and death. Literally a dead end. It is much more fruitful to let things go when they’re the best you can make them at the time, and then hopefully learn from the imperfect product for the next time.