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Once-aspiring City lawyer who rejected Slaughter and May training contract stars in new Hollywood blockbuster

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Gemma Chan appears in Crazy Rich Asians

Image credit: Warner Bros. Picture

It would appear Gemma Chan’s decision to turn her back on a potentially lucrative career in law has paid major dividends.

The University of Oxford law graduate revealed in 2015 that she almost joined elite magic circle law firm Slaughter and May before deciding to pursue a career as an actress. It is understood that Bromley-born Chan completed a vacation scheme with the firm but rejected the subsequent offer of a training contract — a decision that didn’t go down well with her parents.

Several years on, the once-aspiring City lawyer has now secured what is arguably her biggest acting gig to date. Chan — who completed an acting course at Drama Centre London following her Slaughter’s snub — stars in the new Hollywood blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians.

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The romantic comedy-drama follows the exploits of New Yorker Rachel Chu as she accompanies her boyfriend, Nick Young, to a wedding in Singapore. However, unbeknownst to Chu, her long-term partner is one of the most sought-after bachelors in Singapore due to his family’s incredible wealth. Chan plays the role of Young’s famous cousin, Astrid Leong.

Since opening over in the US earlier this month, the film — which cost roughly £24 million to produce — has racked up ticket sales in excess of £27 million. It is scheduled for release in UK cinemas on 14 September.

Big screen exploits aside, 35-year-old Chan is perhaps best known for her role in Channel 4’s hit sci-fi drama, Humans. But she has also featured in a number of other roles in high profile series including Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Fresh Meat.

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45 Comments

JD Partner

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

This response didn’t even last 13 minutes

(21)(1)

Anonymous

JD Partner wouldn’t even last 13 minutes.

(24)(0)

JD Partner

Your mother has a big mouth!

(11)(0)

JD Trainee

I wish!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(5)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(2)

Dr Frankenstein

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I do have to question her judgement a little bit – she used to date Jack Whitehall…

(16)(5)

Anonymous

One downwards vote – looks like Jack reads the blogs (or maybe his team of joke writers do?).

(2)(3)

Pretty Waitress

I thought about doing a law o’level but changed my mind and now I work for pizza express and am something of a local celebrity in my home town.

(17)(0)

JD Partner

PM me…i can improve your chances!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

By paying for my implants?

(1)(0)

JD Partner

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Apparently she only said no because of “ slaughter and may’s lack of international opportunities”

(11)(1)

Anonymous

Should have gone with Dechart

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Should have gone with CMS

(5)(1)

MoneyLaw 4.0

Nah, Dorsey FTW.

(5)(1)

Cravath Rate

It’s all about Greenberg Glusker.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

CMS has a global coverage, Slaughters doesn’t – I struggle to see how the latter firm will survive as it has so few offices and fewer lawyers. It’s also too corporate focused whereas CMS is full-service.

(2)(23)

Random passer-by

I just laughed so loud I almost pooped my pants.

Yep Slaughters is doomed, CMS Nabawang is the future. As a senior in-house lawyer, if I want corporate law advice I’ll go for CMS over Slaughters/Travers Smith, litigation it’s Irwin Mitchell over Herbies and for property I’ll go for Purple bricks over all of them. More offices means better, hence why DLA and Dentons are the Top Top firms in my humble opinion.

(15)(1)

Anonymous

Sensible girl!

(2)(3)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(7)(15)

Anonymous

Crazy Rich Asians is itself a racist film – where are the Indians and Malays?

Wealthy people in Singapore are not just Chinese people

(5)(8)

Travis

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

*Coldplay you racist oaf

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Epic fail

Steven Seagull

Yawn.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Yes, because it is. It’s also highly sexist.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Actually shaking your head?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Seasoned city associate here. There are no people who look like her in law. None. There are a handful, literally a handful, of attractive female associates across the city, but no more that.

Attractive women in the city are all in PR and marketing, and as you veer towards Soho, the arts and fashion.

There was no way in a million years she would have done a TC. And had she done, she would have left immediately after qualification.

(22)(21)

Anonymous

What are the exit opportunities for attractive S&M NQs?

(2)(0)

JD Partner

I can help trainees who are in to S&M.

(26)(0)

Anonymous

Can’t disagree. Looks aside, the most unattractive thing about female associates is that the job tends to make them behave like men.

There are some very fetching PAs, secretaries and HR assistants however.

(16)(22)

JD Equity Partner

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(5)(0)

Male Nurse

Constipated again?

Let me help you off the commode…

(1)(1)

Young chauv

The annoying thing is these ugly female solicitors want us to be attracted to their money and success, the same way that women are often attracted to successful men even if they are ugly. They blame sexism and the male patriarchy for that double standard, but I can’t fake attraction to a boring, hyper competitive, mediocre looking senior associate who wears nice clothes.

(11)(11)

Anonymous

Neither can your mum.

(3)(3)

Anonymous

I think Gemma Chan is a god actress and I enjoyed Humans.

(9)(1)

Anonymous

Apologies, that should say “good”. So far as I am aware Ms. Chan has not portrayed the almighty.

(1)(4)

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