Duncan Gorst

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Law
Job title: Associate
Subject of study: Law
Year of graduation: 2012
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Hogan Lovells

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Since graduating from Exeter, I have had the fortune to live and work in several different countries. Shortly after graduation, I undertook an internship at a Chinese law firm in Beijing, an opportunity that the university had made possible. This was an amazing cultural and professional experience. After returning to the UK, I moved to London and worked as a locum paralegal at several different law firms. In January 2014, I moved to Frankfurt am Main in Germany to take up a position as a paralegal in the international arbitration group of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. I had already had a first insight into international arbitration due to my participation in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot during my studies abroad in Germany. This period was professional and personally very rewarding and I ultimately decided to stay in Germany. I took the New York Bar to qualify as a lawyer and started an associate in the litigation and arbitration group of the German law firm Hengeler Mueller. I spent two years there working on mostly international arbitration matters. I then moved to Munich to take up a position at Hogan Lovells, which is where I am now.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

International arbitration is an intellectually and commercially interesting field which enabled me to work abroad with people from all over the world. I like working together with organisations to solve their disputes. I also like the collegiality that comes with working in teams at a law firm.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was the Vice President of the Bracton Law Society, as it then was, from 2011-12.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I enjoyed learning about two systems of law at the same time and the experience of studying abroad.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I loved the entire setting: the city, the university, the friends that I made and the countless opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities. The sense of community was excellent.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I had studied German up to A level and wanted to combine German with a vocational degree. At the time, Exeter offered a dual course in English and German law, including a year abroad in Germany, which was why I ultimately decided to study at Exeter.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

I studied law and then became a lawyer, so the academic background was definitely helpful. I frequently come back to concepts I learned at university, in particular contract law. The German language and the German law elements of my course were also instrumental in securing a job in Germany. The leadership roles that I had at Exeter allowed me to develop my management skills, which I felt gave me a head start when I started working at law firms. Other than that, the skill of keeping an open mind has perhaps been the most important. I am not where I imagined I would be when I graduated, but I am definitely happy with how everything turned out.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Keep an open mind and be prepared to work very hard.

What are your plans for the future?

For now I am focussing on learning as much as I can.


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