International Women's Day 2021 - Sacco Mann Talks To... Susan Samuel at DLA Piper UK

5 Minutes

Rachael Mann talks to Susan Samuel, Commercial Property Partner at DLA Piper UK. Susan is a ...

Rachael Mann talks to Susan Samuel, Commercial Property Partner at DLA Piper UK. Susan is a lawyer with specific expertise in the Hospitality & Leisure, Consumer and Senior Living sectors. Susan's clients include investors, developers and funders of real estate, global hotel operators, corporates in relation to their UK and global real estate, consumer and retail businesses and senior living organisations.

Statistics show that women have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic whether that be by being more likely to have been made redundant / on furlough or taking the lead with home-schooling whilst juggling work, whilst other statistics show that increased working from home and flexibility will allow for positive steps forward for Women in work. 

Now as we start making steps to move out of lockdown and towards ‘normality’, what do you think the lasting effects from the pandemic will be for Women in Law?

This pandemic period has been a great time of learning for us. Working from home has been a revelation for me – being here with my two older teenage boys has been wonderful (even when the wifi strains with the demands of lots of video calls and xbox games). The travel to the office and to conferences and meetings has freed me to be so much more productive. I think family members and colleagues who have been home schooling younger children are super heroes. We must ensure that as restrictions ease, we continue to support each other. 
Legal 500 2019 - 

Susan ‘is an extension to the clients’ teams and fits perfectly within their culture

Reflecting on the last 12 months, what have been the biggest challenges for you personally and what are the positives you would like to keep and take forward?

The biggest challenge that I have experienced is achieving balance. I have a tendency to push myself hard, so recognising that, and bringing in colleagues where I can to help, is a work in progress. What I have loved is the connectivity Zoom and other calls have given us with each other. I have loved seeing clients and colleagues in their homes, with families, dogs and life happening around us, meeting new babies, puppies and spouses!

What piece of advice do you wish you could go back and give to yourself at the beginning of 2020?

It will be OK! Our clients spent the first 6 months negotiating a very different world, Coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns with closed offices, business premises, and trying to agree concessions. The second six months, we have seen our clients start to do business again, and transactions moving forward. Hospitality & leisure and retail have changed forever, so we are adjusting to the new normal with our clients in those sectors.  

As many firms are revaluating working environments, flexible working policies and benefits packages to ensure they’re relevant post-pandemic. What things do you feel make the biggest impact for Women in the workplace?

We need to provide all of our teams with the support that they need to perform their role. As a business, we moved to at home working withing 48 hours of the first lockdown being announced. We’ve learned so much over this time and we have pulled together and become closer team as a result. The commitment demonstrated by our teams has been wonderful to see. We now know that working from home works, provided that we have support systems in place, so I want to ensure that we take these lessons forward in order to support our colleagues to adopt flexible working patterns going forwards. 

What is the thing you are most looking forward to doing once we’re finally in the ‘new normal’?

Seeing family, friends, clients and colleagues in person. Going on holiday to a sunny place!