Four months can really go by in a blink of an eye! It feels as if it was only yesterday that we arrived in Hannes Snellman’s reception eager to start our traineeships, and now we are suddenly reflecting on our time here. Every day has been an intriguing journey into the different aspects of corporate law, and the best way to prepare for a new day has been to arrive at the office with an open mind, a smile on your face, and a hunger for improvement. While reflecting on the past four months, we came up with the following tips for future trainees.
Be brave: Your traineeship will include many things you most likely have not done before. To put it simply, the job of a lawyer is to take care of things that might not have been done before. Therefore, be brave and embrace these demanding tasks as an opportunity to learn something new and develop your skills.
Be efficient: Sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where you have too many balls (tasks) in the air at the same time, and you are not sure which ones to tackle first. This is the moment when your prioritising skills are put to the test: list the tasks, identify or ask about their urgency, and do them as well as you can. And remember, if a task needs to be done by Wednesday afternoon, it means Wednesday afternoon. Strive to use “only” an estimated, reasonable amount of time for any given task: sometimes less is more.
Be humble: You cannot know everything. Try first on your own, but do not hesitate to ask for help, especially if the task is urgent. Being humble leads to better work results in the long run, and it is always better to ask for help too early rather than too late.
Be considerate: As an associate trainee, you will most likely cooperate with your colleagues. Hence, be considerate of their timetables as well. Plan and coordinate your work in a way that enables the “end product” to be ready when it is needed. Take into account that a colleague might be very busy on a particular moment, and he/she might not be able to comment on it straightaway. Therefore, plan ahead and remember that you are your colleagues’ workload. Giving heads-up to your colleague might be a key to getting the work done in time.
Be social: Positive workplace relationships improve your performance and overall well-being so make an effort to get to know the people you work with. Consider joining the Hannes Snellman floorball team or take part in the book club. Seminars, team-building activities, after-work drinks, and other events organised at the office are a fun way to bond with people. Also, take advantage of your lunch breaks and be sure to have lunch with as many colleagues as possible during your trainee period.
Be yourself: At the beginning of your career, you might be unfamiliar with certain aspects of life at a law firm, such as the dress code, the terms used in the office’s internal communication, and even the titles of your colleagues may seem challenging at first. Don’t worry, you will get familiar with the office’s practices surprisingly fast. However, to be able to truly enjoy and “feel like home” at the office, you should always be yourself.
Written by Mikko Tuovinen, Meri Vanhanen, Hertta Puro and Robert Gordin (from left in the picture), spring 2019 Associate Trainees.