At Crafty Counsel, we regularly focus on getting to know more about members of our in-house legal community. This week, we spoke with Domenica Giorgianni, Associate Legal Counsel at Moneybox, speaker at HG & VC Day 2024, and member of Crafty Starters, our group for in-house legal professionals under four years qualified.

[Did you know we have different groups within our Community for in-house legal professionals which have regularly scheduled virtual meet-ups and in-person events? Learn more about the Crafty Counsel Community.]

Early days 

Domenica’s journey begins with a leap of faith.

Born and raised in Italy, and having lived in Egypt, Domenica found herself yearning for a change when considering where to go next. She explained that she had little guidance when it came to choosing her career path and that, after initially considering the Netherlands, she decided to move to the UK and study international law at Lancaster University.

Paired with navigating a new country and educational systems, starting university provided Domenica with a unique set of challenges. With neither of her parents speaking English, and her own English skills still a work in progress, she had her work cut out for her. Grappling with university exams in a second language, Domenica faced discouragement and questioned whether she had made the right decision.

“I vividly remember how hard my first year was and questioned whether I had made the right choice after receiving a disappointing grade. Little did I know that through working hard and persevering, I would be able to overcome all challenges and graduate with a First Class degree.”

Moving in-house

Despite the pressure from university and others to pursue a traditional route into law, Domenica refused to accept the notion that you could only become a successful lawyer if you secured a training contract in private practice whilst at university. She instead explored alternative avenues, securing her first paralegal role, which acted as a stepping stone to landing her current position at Moneybox as Associate Legal Counsel.

Domenica joined Moneybox as she was inspired by their mission to democratise access to financial services and education by providing an easy-to-use platform. She explains her role is incredibly varied and that she enjoys building strong relationships with other functions to deliver work which has a tangible impact on customers. 

A big win 

Domenica’s greatest achievement to date is her recent qualification as a solicitor. She said the SQE exams were incredibly tough and that working full-time alongside studying required a lot of discipline and resilience. 

“No one really talks about how tiring it’s going to be – physically and mentally! You need to juggle working, studying, other commitments, and resting. And you also need to find the strength to keep going and cross the finish line.”

Throughout her training and following her qualification, Domenica has been passionate about helping aspiring lawyers find the path that suits them best and not be scared of doing something different. She is also an active voice on all things SQE as she sheds light on the process and on the challenges that the SQE presents.

A new challenge 

Despite being a self-professed non-runner, Domenica made a bold commitment to run a marathon if she passed all of her SQE exams at her first attempt. So now, she finds herself training for her first-ever half-marathon. With her resilient, hard-working, and determined nature, Domenica is proving that her strengths extend far beyond the legal field.

“Whilst I was studying, I kept being told that preparing for these exams was like a marathon, not a sprint. So a couple of weeks before I found out my results I jokingly said that, if I passed, I would run a (half) marathon to check if that statement was accurate. After results day, I couldn’t go back on my word so I’m doing it!”

Advice to her younger self

Reflecting on her journey so far, Domenica would urge her younger self to embrace curiosity, believe in herself more, and enjoy the process. Rather than fixating solely on the end goal or pre-set tick-boxes, she believes greater joy is found in the journey, paving the way for even greater achievements in the future.