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We loved catching with Naomi Pryde (Class of 2002) to hear all about her career path after leaving Heriot’s. Naomi has appeared on UK talent lists and has recently been awarded Scotland’s Lawyer of the Year.
Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
I’m a partner and Head of Litigation Scotland at the international legal business DWF. I specialise in commercial litigation and resolve disputes, usually between companies, often with a cross border or international element.
How did you get there?
I’ve known that I wanted to be a court lawyer since I was 8 years old. Joining the debating club in P7 and then the week’s work experience that we did in senior school, really cemented that desire for me. I spent my week in a law firm that specialised in court disputes and I simply adored it.
I went to Glasgow University to do my undergraduate degree and Edinburgh to do my post-graduate degree. I also spent some time in the USA studying at a law school there as part of my under-graduate degree.
I did lots of placements (both paid and unpaid) during my summers to get as much experience as I could. One of those placements led to my traineeship and my subsequent qualification as a solicitor. I worked at the firm for a further 5 years before moving to London, where I worked at a large global firm for 5 years before returning to take up my current role.
What are your top achievements?
I’m qualified as a solicitor in 4 jurisdictions and I’m a Solicitor Advocate (equivalent of an advocate / barrister) in two. I’ve won some truly amazing awards and been listed in UK talent lists alongside eminent and household names, but I think professionally what I’m the most proud of is actually qualifying as a lawyer in the first place. There was a lot against me growing up. I also qualified during the 2008/2009 recession when there weren’t many jobs and it feels like such an achievement just to have made it. Everything else has been a lovely bonus.
Personally my biggest achievement is my lovely, happy, smiley little boy who I had at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is the light of my life and I’m besotted with him.
What are your abiding memories of Heriot’s?
I was at Heriot’s for 13 years and so it’s difficult to pick just two memories. It’s hard to forget June day, particularly as I was always the marker!
I was quite sporty back in the day and I have lots of memories of Goldenacre! We’re having our wedding reception there later this year [after we’ve eloped to Santorini first to exchange our vows (sshh!)].
I also have fond memories of some school friends, two in particular, Jodie and Catriona, who remain my best friends to this day. There’s something truly special about sharing a history with your primary school friends.
Tell us your two ‘takeaways’ from your Heriot’s days.
For me, the school’s motto “distribute cheerfullie” really stuck with me. I always try to be a positive presence and to give cheerfully, be it time, kindness, support or money. I do a lot of mentoring, CSR and pro bono work and I support a number of charities.
I was taught to always do my best and if I’d genuinely given it everything I’d got, then that was all I could do.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
Try to have an idea of what you think you’d like to do for a career and find out as much out about it as you can. Research; do work experience; speak to those actually doing the job.
If you require a degree to do your chosen career then find out what grades you need and then pick your subjects wisely. If torn between subjects, then consider what might beneficial for your chosen career, e.g for law, history is likely to be more beneficial than geography. Also look at other forms of entry, apprenticeships etc.
Finally, don’t let anyone dissuade you if you think you have a calling. Lots of people told me I’d never make it as a lawyer or told me I was too nice to be a litigator. I’m currently Scotland’s Lawyer of the Year. If I can fulfil my childhood ambition; you can too.