For Women in Law

Lawyer, model and former Miss Earth Zambia, Cartier Zagorski is a woman in law who is currently pursuing her 4th Legal qualification.Cartier strives to create a platform to empower young women in Africa to take on environmental and sustainability issues and build these young ladies to become Ambassadors for the extensive environmental, conservation and sustainable work that needs to be done.

Cartier believes that we each have a responsibility toward the earth and she has taken the responsibility of ensuring that people be made aware of this fact, as the green cause holds a significant place in her heart.

Miss Earth Zambia Executive Director, Catherine Constantinides has described Cartier as “a bubble of fun”, and in this interview, she talks to us about how she manages to balance being a legal professional, a model and an influencer. A jack of all trades, Cartier’s number one goal is to attain success in the legal field and to develop herself professionally and personally.

FWIL:Please tell us what qualification(s) you hold

CZ:I currently hold the following:1. LLB Law degree with honours.2. Diploma in Paralegal Studies 3. Certificate in Paralegal Studies with specific focus on Commercial Practice.

FWIL:What is your area of expertise?

CZ:Currently I am rotating between different branches of law but find that I may settle in the Tax division.

FWIL:What inspired you to study law?

CZ:I’ve always resonated with the idea of being able to directly impact someone’s life in a way that could be passed on to others through my work. I’ve found that the legal field has allowed me the platform to do just that. I was also fond of the aura that surrounds the legal profession in general and the status that came with joining it. 

FWIL:As a woman in law, have you experienced gender bias?

CZ:I have yet to experience gender bias at this time as I have fortunately been based in an environment where equality in the work place is of top priority and taken seriously.I’ve found the legal fraternity to be one that tries to promote equality in all spheres of law and life thus it would pose to be rhetorical to have the same people that fight for such equalities be the ones to infringe on them.Having said this I am well aware that there is definitely gender bias in the workplace and have heard my peers from other corporates bring up such. I feel it’s an issue that needs to be addressed to ensure we have more woman enter the legal field with the confidence as well as guarantee that they will not be undermined but be assisted to ensure a successful career path. 

FWIL:More women are now venturing into male-dominated territories, and it’s beautiful to witness. In order to continue to witness more of these audacious and passionate women entering these fields, we need to support each other. This is not always the case, however. What advice would you give to a young woman entering the work environment and who is facing black-balling and “hate” from older/senior women in the work place?

CZ:This is an extremely important topic to discuss as it’s often a misconception that men are the ones to bring women down in the workplace when in fact I’ve come to find that woman, especially in senior roles are imposing these difficulties. As a young woman I feel it is of the utmost importance especially in the work field of law to serve as a guiding and strong force to other woman. I am fortunate to have a senior women as my mentor who makes sure to act as a guiding force through my legal career.Empowerment is so beautiful especially when it comes from a fellow woman who wants nothing more than to see you succeed and excel in your sphere.

FWIL:The journey of most legal professionals is not always an easy one. What are some of the lessons you have learned along the way and how have they shaped your outlook on life?

CZ:I think this question pertains to many career choices in general. Everything takes sacrifice and hard work for something to be achieved in the end. I’ve learnt the lesson of patience and truly believing in my faith that God will place me where he sees fit. In saying that it still means that you need to put the work in. It’s changed my outlook in that I’ve learnt to be open to and embrace change not only in my professional career but also in my personal life. Nothing is set in stone and if something does not work for you, remember you have the ability, skills and knowledge to change it. 

FWIL:What is the best advice you would give to aspiring legal professionals?

CZ:I would say that it is extremely difficult, extremely demanding and extremely challenging but in the end it is also extremely worth it. Make sure to learn and grow from every experience. Before you choose your field of specialization it is essential that you expose yourself to all the available sectors to make sure that what you settle on is something you will enjoy and can see yourself doing forever.Confidence in yourself and your abilities will always serve you well. Make sure you are your number one supporter!

FWIL:As a legal professional, it is quite important to effectively use your network. How do you meet other legal professionals and what are some of your effective networking skills?

CZ:The saying goes that “your network is your net worth” thus making new contacts and keeping good relationships is always crucial. There are many legal seminars that take place in Johannesburg throughout the year and are often open to individuals looking to learn more and expand their contact base. I would recommend attending as many workshops and seminars as possible. Another source would be your peers that you studied with and being able to leverage off their contact bases and share yours.Lastly I would recommend having a mentor. This does not have to be someone in the legal field but someone who has achieved a degree of success that you would wish to mimic. Sit with them at least once a month and learn from their achievements but most of all the journey thy made in getting there.

FWIL:What does the term “role model” mean to you? Which phenomenal woman in law would you call your role model?

CZ:The term “Role Model” to me means that the person who serves as this should be one that acts as an example of the values, attitudes and behaviors that I would want to be able to reflect in my own life. Someone that I am able to admire and strive to achieve their level of success through their guidance.I would definitely say time and time again that my current boss, Mairèad Edwards is my role model in law. She recently transitioned from being an attorney for over 10 years to entering the world of advocacy. This alone took a huge amount of confidence in herself.She has definitely been a massive influence in my own career and is usually consulted before I make a career based decision. Above all she is a phenomenal mother and wife while being able to balance the demanding role of her career. Definitely a phenomenal woman in my book.

FWIL:You are also a model, how did you become interested in pageants and how do you balance being a legal professional and an influencer?

CZ:From a young age I’ve always been fascinated with the modelling and pageantry world. I think it’s fair to say that every girl dreams of wearing a crown. I’m very fortunate that I was able to make that a reality. Both my career as a legal professional and model carry demanding schedules and balance is key. For me, it’s my legal career that will always take preference as that is my main focus and will always take centre stage. Being able to merge the two professions would always be the goal but currently I’m still trying to figure this out.

FWIL:How do you measure success?

CZ:For me success is being wealthy. Not only attaining wealth at face value in monetary terms but being wealthy spiritually, mentally, physically and of course financially.

FWIL:What has been your greatest achievement to date?

CZ:My greatest achievement would have to be that of all my qualifications that have been obtained. It certainly was not easy and there were times, more than I’d like to admit, where I couldn’t see myself reaching the finish line but I did. These are achievements that no one will be able to take away from me and form the foundations on which I tend to shape my future.

FWIL:How can people reach out to you? (Social media handles)

CZ:I am available on:

Facebook – Cartier Zagorski

Twitter – @CartierZagorskiInstagram – @Cartier_mzagorski 

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