Thomas graduated from the University of Southampton in 2013 and was called to the bar in 2015. He practiced maritime and commercial litigation for two years before transitioning into the marketing and business development team at an international law firm.
Thomas is now based out of the Singapore office of leading artificial intelligence company Luminance, working with firms and corporates across the Asia-Pacific region to roll out Luminance’s revolutionary machine learning technology across their various teams.
He prefers to express himself through songwriting and YouTube videos.
This letter is written to his younger self at various life stages.
How you feeling there, hot stuff? I see you walking – no, strutting your way out of that first year Contract Law exam. Someone asked you how you did and you said, “It was super easy, I think I aced it!”
You’re on top of the world!
Those your exam results? Full string of 2:2’s, huh? Yeah, I know.
You didn’t do a lot of acing first year. But at least you’ve learned a valuable lesson out of all of this.
You’re not as smart as you think you are. This is law school. You want good grades? Work for them. Hard.
Hello. It’s me again, future you. If my – well, our – recollection is correct, you’ve really found your stride in law school. You had a stellar second year. Ended up loving land law for some reason. EU law, too.
Training contract applications are in full swing. Don’t get too excited. You’ll be facing rejection after rejection. In fact, 55 firms are going to turn you down before you finally find one that’s willing to take you on. It’s going to suck, but don’t worry. Everything’s going to turn out just fine. You see, this is a really good character building opportunity, and – wait. Is that…
Is that a camera and tripod? Oh. My. Gosh. You’re filming Lawyer Style aren’t you? Ah yes, Gangnam Style parodies are all the rage now. This video is going to go viral, by the way. Baroness Hale is going to see it too, and she’s going to love the shout-out you gave her in it. Just so you know, it’s going to follow you around for a long, long time. No, seriously. In 2019, you’re going to have put out a bunch of other videos on YouTube, but all anyone will ever want to talk about is Lawyer Style. This is a good thing. After starting their careers, lots of people around you are going to give up the things they loved, like music and dance and art and writing and sports and all kinds of little joys. But you’ll hold on to yours, and it’s going to keep you some good company over the years.
You’ve just finished your Part B exams and are about to start your training contract. Nothing noteworthy actually happens here. I just wanted to check in to let you know that you’re about to say something really, really stupid over the coming weeks. Okay, fine, I’ll tell you what it is. You say this over dinner with a friend. The stupid thing you say is:
I don’t think I’ll ever want to do anything else with my career except practice law.
Don’t scowl at me. I’m future you, remember? I know how this all goes.
…and as it goes, here you are handing in your resignation letter to your boss after just two years in practice - without another job lined up. He asks you where you’re going. You tell him anywhere but law. He asks why.
“It’s a bit of a miserable profession.”
You’ve done a lot of thinking to get to this point. People have told you that you’re making a mistake, that it’s too early to give up on practice, that you should keep going for another three years or so before deciding to leave. You’re wasting your law degree, they say. You haven’t listened to any of them.
I know it’s scary, but everything’s going to turn out just fine.
You work for a great company. It’s a legal tech startup called Luminance, and you decided to join it because you saw a chance that maybe, just maybe, you’d be able to bring some change to a profession that you left because it was so miserable. For the first time in your career, you’ve found yourself believing in and truly enjoying the work that you do – and you’re not practicing law! I bet you never saw this coming, did you?
Like I said, despite all the setbacks and miscalculations and lost ways, everything’s turned out just fine.
I’ll leave the rest for future us to fill in.