Head of Graduate Recruitment, Training and Development
Once upon a time I was a trainee, keen to qualify into the cut and thrust of Corporate/Commercial practice and to learn the technical "craft" of being a legal specialist. There were a few "champagne moments" and headlines in the business press at the end of sexy deal completions, which were great! There were also lots of late nights, with hard work, but great camaraderie in the office, which helps pull you through the lack of sleep. Some of the friendships you make at that early stage in your career are the ones that are sustained as you progress through the ranks.
As a trainee, I quite quickly learned that, it's not just what you know that clients are interested in. Sophisticated commercial clients take it for granted that the lawyers they pay good fees for are technically excellent. What clients really want are people they are comfortable working with, whom they genuinely like, and who will give them clear and succinct, commercial advice, which helps them to achieve their business objectives.
Technical legal knowledge is fundamental and you will learn this through a combination of on-the-job experience and continued professional training; but it is the interpersonal skills you develop in order to deliver that advice to clients which is central to you becoming a truly trusted advisor. Importantly for me, you should be aiming to become one of your client's key team members - that's the best way to cement a long-lasting client relationship and to build your personal brand as a business professional.
As a trainee and junior Corporate lawyer, I observed, absorbed and practised lots of the skills I picked up from the bright and inspiring people I was lucky enough to work with. That's the most exciting, and let's be honest, sometimes challenging aspect of learning your trade as a new lawyer. The best people have the highest standards and sometimes that can be tough to live up to. But, if you are up for that challenge, you will be inspired and rewarded when you highlight a key point that someone has missed, or you translate some difficult research into a clear piece of advice for a client who then acts on your recommendations. It's the chance to make your contribution at the earliest stage in your legal career which gives you such a buzz as a new lawyer. It's all about adding value right from day one. You will get that opportunity here.
It's important to remember that the law is a service industry- you have to like working with people, frequently under pressure, to meet clients' needs. It's also key to keep in mind that the law is itself a dynamic business and that the business of law and how a law firm operates are fascinating from the financial, regulatory and wider business support perspective. Law and client service delivery are a true team effort. The most successful law firms are greater than the sum of their parts because they promote a team work ethic.
It was with all of those skills and aspects of the law in mind that I decided to diversify and take on a different role within the business. Part of that role focuses on the design and delivery of the skills and knowledge training which trainees and junior lawyers need to develop in order to set themselves apart and add real value to the teams and clients they work with. In my role, I put myself in the shoes of our junior lawyers every day, to help them fulfil their potential and achieve their career ambitions. And that's the beauty of becoming a well-rounded commercial lawyer at a firm like Pinsent Masons - there are so many opportunities, challenges and career options for you to embrace; and because you will develop a raft of technical knowledge and transferable skills you can apply them pretty much anywhere when you qualify.
I hope you'll choose to apply them with us!