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News > Alumni Spotlight > Jack Nichols, Senior Legal Counsel

Jack Nichols, Senior Legal Counsel

"I took a gap year after Owen's - this had a huge influence on me and the sense that I could make an impact on the world."

Current Job Title & Employer

Senior Legal Counsel in finance and international development at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Dame Alice Owen’s Class of....

Class of 2000.

Brief description of your path after Owen’s.

Studied Law at Cambridge University, then Legal Practice Course at BPP in London.

I then completed a training contract and worked for several years as a qualified solicitor at Linklaters - first in London and then Dubai before transferring from the private sector to international development at the Green Climate Fund. I joined Gavi recently as their lawyer leading their financing.

How your path led you to where you are now?

I have had several influences leading me to a job trying to make a difference.

I took a gap year after Owen's - teaching English and undertaking community work in Nepal for 9 months. This had a huge influence on me and my sense that I could make an impact on the world.

I focused some of my studies at Cambridge on international law and a dissertation on legal initiatives to tackle corruption through transparent reporting, and an Erasmus year where I focused on comparative law and conflict studies. Where possible, I undertook internships and experience in development - leveraging what few connections I had - with Global Witness in London, Al Haq in Ramallah, and research for Harvard University.

I trained at Linklaters - an international law firm - which gave me experience in international finance. I chose to use my time there to prepare myself, my career, and my experience (and my bank account!) to be able to move into a lower paid job in the public/non-profit sector. I completed a part time MSc in Development Management at the Open University, and did pro bono initiatives to build my CV of non-profit experience. I took opportunities to travel and work internationally and as an in-house lawyer, which enabled me to show my ability to work in different cultural environments. As well as working on international finance transactions, I undertook investigations into corruption and efforts to tackle it - leading to some front page UK headlines. This decision to broaden my areas of expertise gave me exposure to more clients in a range of jurisdictions, and more ways to appeal to different jobs and employers. 

Ultimately this allowed me to demonstrate my ability and willingness to work on development matters. I have chosen to use my legal skills on some of the biggest challenges facing the world - addressing climate change and its effects with the Green Climate Fund, and addressing vaccine inequality with Gavi.

Did your time at Owen’s inspire any particular skills or attributes?

Persistence and a belief that hard work can pay off and open doors. 

Favourite Owen’s memory?

Hard to pick one out, but I think back to the breadth of opportunities through music, sport and other activities. 

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