In the Spotlight

At Travlaw we have always seen ourselves as a part of the travel industry first and the legal industry second. Everything we do at Travlaw is to help and support our travel industry clients and we love being a part of such an amazing, resilient and passionate group of industry professionals.

Obviously we bring our legal expertise to the table, but what you may not know is that we also have some team members at Travlaw with experience of working in the travel industry.

Katie Raby – From Ticketing Agent to Travel Lawyer!

One such person is Katie Raby who is now a qualified solicitor in our very busy Commercial & Corporate Governance team. Here Katie shares her journey from ticketing agent to travel lawyer;

 “I completed my degree in 2001 in Hospitality Management with Tourism and Leisure with an interest in foreign languages and working abroad in the tourism sector. My degree provided for a years’ work placement which I undertook at Aussie specialist Austravel in their ticketing department in Leeds. The role gave me experience of working with the Galileo system and an understanding of airline fares and contracts. I subsequently returned to Austravel a few years later as a sales consultant putting together round the world itineraries for customers.

Upon completion of my degree I swiftly gained employment within a sales team at a small independent tour operator that specialised in daybreaks in Europe and it was there that I had my first taste of being a rep in accompanying a daybreak flight to Venice. After spending 3 years at the company I moved from sales to contracts assistant to my final role in operations where the highlight of my travel industry career was being involved in the planning of the company’s Lapland winter program. In my final year there I spent a month in Lapland overseeing the operations in the northern town of Saariselka and loving every minute!

Sadly, the tour operator relocated its operations function in 2005 resulting in redundancy. There was some good to come of this however; having built up such good relationships with many hoteliers, particularly in Sardinia, I was asked by a Sardinian family if I could sell their hotel. A few months later, I had set up my own online travel business selling a portfolio of accommodation only in Sardinia.

In 2006 I joined the Thomas Cook Group as a member of their recoveries team (contrary to popular belief, this did not involve recovering customer lost luggage!). My role here was varied and fun and involved taking responsibility for a portfolio of destinations assisting them with complaint handling, customer recovery and often flying overseas to provide training in person. It was during my time at Thomas Cook that I discovered an interest in the law after a slight shift over to a legal recoveries role. Working alongside Travlaw on many occasions when external assistance was needed, gave me an appetite for the law and I decided to go back to university in 2011, completing the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2013 and subsequently the Legal Practice Course where I qualified top of my class. This was a huge achievement for me as I undertook my final exams whilst 5 months pregnant so it had been a pretty exhausting time but the hard work paid off!

After various changes at Thomas Cook, I took the hard decision to leave the travel giant and joined our team here at Travlaw in 2014, completing both my university studies and my training contract in the following few years.

I really feel that my travel industry experience helped make the transition into a travel law firm much easier and hopefully I can bring a further level of understanding to the work that we do for our clients.”

Katie’s journey into law has perhaps taken longer than most but on the way she has acquired invaluable experience and knowledge of a sector that she still has a huge passion for. Now a firm fixture in our Commercial & Corporate Governance Team, assisting clients with their various commercial needs and providing compliance advice, she continually strives to do her best for all her clients.

Hats off to Katie, she has pretty much seen and done it all in the travel industry and puts that experience to good use when analysing from both a commercial and legal point of view. I think it is also worth mentioning that Katie has an informal title of “Superwoman”, she has three young boys, studied whilst on maternity leave, runs half marathons and always has a smile on her face!”

Ami Naru – Partner

You can contact Katie directly if you require any commercial assistance.

0113 258 0033

This article was originally published on: 16 March 2021

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