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Re-invent yourself

Joanna Kennedy enjoyed her legal career, but has found her true calling in her role as chief executive of a charity

31 March 2009

“Life is what happens whilst you are making other plans”. The famous John Lennon remark nearly describes my working life. I chose law as a profession because of a mixture of two influences: Perry Mason (ask your parents) and my all-time greatest hero Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mocking Bird).

Both of these heroes were what Americans call ‘trial lawyers’, so I suppose a career at the Bar might have been a more obvious choice, but at that time I needed a steady, well-paid job in order to support my father and younger siblings.and the Bar was in those days considered to be a very risky profession.

However, I always thought the whole thing was temporary and that my true calling was to do something that was more socially useful. Being a solicitor in private practice did not fit with my idealistic image of myself. I flirted with working for Amnesty, or for a law centre, but always came back to the fact that at that stage in my life I felt that I had to earn a good incom...

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