fivehundred magazine > > Interview with Nazli Selek, Senior Partner, NSN Law

Interview with Nazli Selek, Senior Partner, NSN Law

Tell us about your career choice and journey. What inspired you to become a lawyer? 

I have decided to be a lawyer when I was 12. Although my mother was also a lawyer, she did not support me on this idea stating that it would be hard education and career for me. I did not listen to her. I enjoyed every part of my journey, both during my education and after, when I started practicing law. There was a TV show with title “LA LAW” at the time and that was my first inspiration. Then, I started to watch some other TV shows and serials regarding law and enforcement, and all inspired me. The most inspiring parts of these media shows was where lawyers were making studies and discoveries about cases, like solving puzzles. This was fascinating. 

What are your reflections on the diversity and inclusion culture in the legal profession in Turkey? 

I personally never experienced any discrimination in my career as a woman lawyer and believe that this is probably the older generation of women, who opened the way for us and who fought with all kinds of discrimination at their times, without giving up. Therefore, we are practicing law in a more diverse environment. Sometimes, in some areas of law, I have just started to see in young females that they prefer to work in a more in- office / on desk type environment rather than practicing law in courts or for shipping law, on board vessels or shipyards. This is frustrating but I want to believe that this is also temporary.  

How is NSN Law progressing with its diversity agenda? 

In our firm, for instance, number of male lawyers and trainees is significantly lower than females. We do not have an agenda in this respect but this is how it naturally happened. Applicants were more female than male. We value qualifications, hard working nature of applicants rather than gender, however, when applicants to positions were more female than male, the diversity in our firm is working in favor of females, at present. 

How do you define the culture at NSN Law? 

The culture of NSN is aiming peaceful but professional working environment. In order to achieve peace, we are trying to listen our lawyers and administrative staff and hear if we are lacking in performance in any area at the office. We are trying to learn from such lack of performance, if any, any rectify same for progress.  

In your opinion, are women lawyers treated differently by clients and colleagues compared to their male counterparts? 

I do not believe so and I also did never come across to any such different treatment myself. This does not mean that I do not have fears as to whether this may change due to changing cultural climate of Turkey in general but I believe that, we should certainly keep the existing diversity in our profession and make it even better for the younger generation, as our older generation made for us. We owe this to our youngsters. 

How do you see the new generation of women lawyers? 

I cannot name anybody for my profession at this time.  

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? 

I guess I would be an academician at law. Other than law, I guess I would be making something in media and entertainment, probably in talk show business. People say to me that I am fun person and making people laugh hence, maybe, if my ambition and desire was not law, I would be choosing show business. Maybe, my interest to media and entertainment law and successfully developing the firm in that practice area can also be explained by this fact. 

Which women in your life have had the most influence on your career? 

Women who had the most influence on my career is my mother, first. Her capabilities to balance work and a marriage with kids, showed me that everything was possible. I also had been influenced by Professors, Sevin Toluner, Rayegan Kender and Aysel Çelikel at University. Both powerful and very knowledgeable women at law. Their strength to shape the law and also the younger generation was remarkable. 

What motivates you? 

Studying on cases and finding legal grounds and evidence for a case, like solving a puzzle, motivates me. When I find a way out on a difficult case, with sample Court of Appeal judgments or academic articles, I am always feeling satisfied. Also, practicing law before the judge, at court, is a must thing to do for a lawyer. I believe that appearing in hearings at court is a perfect motivation. 

Are there any pivotal moments that shaped your career as a lawyer? 

I started my career as a shipping lawyer and when I was a trainee, I had to attend on board a vessel in order to repatriate a deceased crewmember. Ship was at anchorage where we had to go by a boat and climb on bord from Jacobs ladder, together with a doctor from forensics medicine department. He, at first, did not allow me to go on board with them, stating that I am too young to make such journey. I remember my crying to him and begging that I need to be with them. I could convince him at last and completed my duty. The satisfaction that I felt at that time, shaped my entire career which always reminded me of not giving up. 

How do you manage your current work / life balance?  

When I had my daughter as a baby and as a little kid, it was very tiring to keep my work and life in a balanced way. However, when I realized the fact that if I do not develop myself at my work and do not feel the satisfaction I feel when performing my job, I will not be happy and will not be able to spend valuable time with my child, I could make this balance work.  I believe  that creating such balance is being learned on  they way, with experience. 

When you look back at your career and the knowledge you’ve gained, what advice would you give to female students who are about to enter the legal industry? 

My suggestion to them would be that they chose the area that they wish to work in a careful way. They should practice what makes them happy and satisfied. When they are happy and satisfied, the rest will be all on track. Also, they should listen to themselves as to what they expect from life. They may feel ambition as to their career and they may not feel that ambition as much as others, and may desire a more balanced life, instead. There is nothing wrong or bad about choosing one way or another. The important task is to make a choice that will make them happy.   

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