We Shape Birmingham - Diane Benussi transcript

Title: Diane Benussi
Duration: 2.58 mins


My name’s Diane Benussi, I’m a lawyer, I run a matrimonial practice, we specialise in doing a high net worth divorces and we work in London, we work nationally, we work internationally.

When I went to Birmingham I was a mature student, I was only 23 and that was counted as mature and I’d been elsewhere in the world, I’d studied elsewhere and because my husband was going to do his PhD at Aston University I decided I didn’t want to be sitting at home at night with nothing to do so I thought I would do a qualification and it was either psychology or law at Birmingham or Warwick and fortunately I chose Birmingham and the Law Faculty and I’ve never regretted that decision.

If I were talking to a graduate who was thinking about staying in Birmingham, or someone who’s an undergraduate maybe, I would say go and see what Birmingham has to offer because certainly I lived in Birmingham as a child and I didn’t know that there was a business quarter. I never ever crossed Colmore Row and into the district which houses the major law firms, the accountants and people like that. Lots of people go to London because they have the picture in their mind of working in London. They know what it’s going to look like but if you’re going to stay in Birmingham you’re going to do work younger that’s of a higher calibre and you’re going to have more responsibility because there are fewer lawyers here but we are doing a lot of really good work.

When I came to actually work in the city I decided that you’d got to get out and about. I was networking, I was looking for expanding my business and I very quickly discovered that it’s a big city but with very very few movers and shakers, moving and shaking the city. We joke that there’s a hundred people that affect the destiny of the city and I actually think that’s true.


If I was talking to a student now and saying ‘what do you want to do? What do you want to get out of the University of Birmingham?’ I’d say don’t do as I did but do as I say, because I went there as a mature student and I worked from 9 till 5, went home, didn’t study in the evenings, I just treated it as a day job. So I never went to the sports hall, I never saw the swimming pool, didn’t do anything at all, didn’t join a society, so I would say treat it as a fantastic opportunity. I go back to the campus often and it’s a campus that you can just wander round, get to know people and you need to use it, you need to use that opportunity because it’s all there for you.