I was born in Hong Kong but at the age of 13, I started boarding school in the UK. It was quite a stressful experience but being in a completely new place sparked my love for languages and the way we communicate. I grew up speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and I did French at A-levels. I sometimes find speaking just one language limiting, because the perfect phrase for what you’re trying to describe can be found in another language. I also love the way that different attitudes come through in languages – Chinese, for example, is a very direct language, whereas in English there are many words for the same thing, so meanings are sometimes more subtle.
I remember in my interview for Colt, they asked me why I wanted to pursue the legal profession and I told them that it comes back to my love of language. Contracts or terms and conditions are like a whole new language that so many people don’t understand but they’re everywhere. I thought, ‘I want to learn this so that I can translate it for everyone else.’ On top of that, there’s the language of telecoms, which is all around us at Colt. It’s very challenging, but I really enjoy it. Hopefully it’ll be the fifth language that I master.
Samantha Lee | Trainee Solicitor