Caroline Kenny is a leading lawyer for Facebook in all countries outside the US. She kick started her high-flying career when she graduated from The University of Law in 2004, having studied the GDL and LPC.
She has since worked in a variety of firms and organisations before joining Facebook as associate general counsel in 2016. She’s one of many of our alumni who’ve gone on to successful careers in high-profile organisations. We asked her about working at Facebook and how studying at The University of Law helped progress her career so quickly.
In my current role at Facebook I look after the company’s marketing, advertising and brand campaigns outside North America. I provide guidance to the business on promotional and sales collateral to make sure it’s fair, accurate and legally compliant. It can sometimes be a challenge working over so many time zones, especially with the volume of requests this kind of business creates. My usual day starts at around 7.00am, when I’ll squeeze in a call or two with Asia before taking my three sons to school, and ends at around 10.00pm after I’ve connected with my colleagues in the US. It’s not obligatory, but it works for me to take time out with family earlier in the evening and come back to work when America wakes up. I block out a couple of hours for family time around 6.30pm before jumping back on calls.
Working across a lot of jurisdictions means there is never a dull moment. I love learning new things about advertising and consumer law in different parts of the world. And the opportunity to travel with work is a big plus; I love working in different offices and learning the fascinating nuances of working with other cultures. Sure, the hours can be long some days but it’s worth it.
I’ve come across so many inspiring people in my career it’s hard to pick just one. The people who inspire me the most are those who do things differently, speak out and break down barriers in the profession.
I think the proudest moment of my career so far has to be when I won a prize for a pro bono essay at ULaw. The prize was two weeks in South Africa on the Streetlaw programme. I still feel so honoured to have had that amazing opportunity. It was an enormous eye-opener to see how the law can be used to influence significant change in society and how lawyers can use their skills to make a real difference to the lives of the underprivileged. The prize donor was the ex-chairman of the Law Society and donating the prize was his way of paying forward the privilege he felt he’d had in his own career. I hope I can pay it onwards in a meaningful way someday too.
The teaching at ULaw was excellent – I came from a non-law background and found the transition to the GDL quite an adjustment. At times when I doubted my capabilities the teachers were fabulously supportive and inspiring. I remember feeling so amazed and thankful when I started my training contract and realised that all the topics we had learnt at ULaw were absolutely true to working life – I understood what people were talking about and I knew how to draft things. I still refer to my old ULaw text books occasionally; some law never goes out of date. I also met so many fantastic other students on the course, a good few of whom I am still friends with today.
My top piece of advice to law students wanting to work at Facebook is to get a solid stint in private practice under your belt. We usually hire from two years’ post-qualified experience and look for candidates who can demonstrate solid experience and competency in their subject matter. In-house experience is a real plus too. Stay in the know about the tech sector and keep an eye on the job boards at facebook.com/careers. To excel here you need high energy, quick thinking and the confidence to be bold and to speak up if you don’t agree. We have lots of mottos at Facebook and my favourite two are ‘done is better than perfect’ and ‘nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem’.
Find out how you, too, can set yourself up for success with a law qualification from The University of Law.