Anni Pöllänen

Legal Assistant, Real Estate, Helsinki
(currently on secondment, Finance & Restructuring, Stockholm)

When did you start working at Hannes Snellman?
I started working at Hannes Snellman as a legal assistant trainee in January 2016, and directly after graduating from Haaga-Helia, I continued working as a legal assistant in our Real Estate team. I am also spending spring 2019 on secondment in our Finance & Restructuring team in Stockholm.

What is included in a “normal” working day?
My working days vary quite a lot and include all kinds of support tasks. For example, some of my working days might comprise only of tasks related to a certain project and other days I might be working with various different projects and administrative assignments. Therefore, you could almost say that there is no such thing as a “normal” working day for a legal assistant – every day is somewhat different.

Can you describe your working group?
I work in the Real Estate team, which can be described as an energetic, positive, and dynamic working group. Our team consists of about 20 professionals. As a legal assistant, I also get to work in close co-operation with lawyers, other assistants, and support teams.

What do you like about your job and what do you wish could be improved?
I like the professional working atmosphere at Hannes Snellman, enjoy working in co-operation with colleagues, and find it rewarding when I can help others and develop myself by learning new things. The best part of my job is that you never really know what the day holds, and for me, that is exciting and challenging in a positive way. It is also great that there is always someone willing to help if your day gets busy.

Can you describe the Hannes Snellman culture?
Hannes Snellman has a professional and friendly atmosphere. It is almost a little bit hard to describe the unique culture we have, but it is obviously the talented individuals who build the professional, warm and welcoming culture of Hannes Snellman. I think it is a privilege to be a part of this community.

What kind of skills is important for a legal assistant?
In three words, I would say that a legal assistant should be reliable, flexible, and diligent. A positive mindset, a solution-oriented way of thinking, and taking ownership of your tasks also helps. Furthermore, good IT, language (especially English), and organising skills are of essence to a legal assistant.

Why did you choose to go on secondment?
I have always dreamt of working abroad and was so excited when I got the chance to go on secondment at our Stockholm office. It has been so rewarding to get to know our other office better and learn more about another culture and language. Secondments are also a great way to share different practices and knowledge between our offices.

What are the practicalities you need to get in order before you go on secondment?
There is quite a lot of paperwork and other practical issues that need to be taken care of when you go on secondment but our fantastic HR team helped a lot with the practicalities, for example by finding an apartment for me. Furthermore, it is good to familiarise yourself with and learn as much as possible of the foreign culture and language when on secondment – I learned a lot about the Swedish way of working and their fika culture as well as the Stockholm dialect.

Hannah Judd

Legal Assistant, M&A, Helsinki

When did you start working at Hannes Snellman?
I first started working here at Hannes Snellman as a legal assistant trainee in January 2017. I continued working as a trainee, both full-time and part-time whilst finishing my studies, throughout the year 2017 in the M&A5, Finance, and Real Estate groups. In April 2018, I started working as a full-time legal assistant in the M&A5 group.

What is included in a “normal” working day?
It is difficult to describe a “normal” working day since every day is so different. I am never able to say precisely what job tasks the next day will consist of. Mostly, I assist lawyers in their daily work and help with document management and different IT-problems. In addition to this, some of my job tasks are project-related and, hence, depending on the situation of the project. I have also volunteered to help with student cooperation events and because of my bilingualism, I sometimes get to help our Translations Team with proofreading. The versatility of the job is one of the many things I enjoy in my work.

What would you say are the best and the most challenging things in a legal assistant’s job?
For me, the best thing is the feeling of achievement and the continuous learning that this job gives me. It challenges me daily. To know my colleagues genuinely believe in my capabilities and want to help me develop my skills further just makes it all the more special. The projects and job tasks are really interesting. People are so happy to share what they are working on that I never feel unwelcome when I need to ask for more information on a project.

The most challenging thing would be prioritising and having the time to help with everything. My job is very upbeat, and staying on track of everything always demands great organisational skills. This is something I am sure develops through experience.

How would you describe Hannes Snellman’s legal assistant team?
Our legal assistant team works in a collaborative and positive manner. I would also describe our team as compassionate and supportive. We always help each other regardless of business area or even office location.

Can you describe the Hannes Snellman culture?
We have an active, cooperative work community that not only wants to help each employee to improve individually but also to improve the work community to be the best it can be.

What kind of skills are required from a good legal assistant?
Good organisational skills and IT skills, as well as knowledge of Finnish and English. In addition to this, an open, service-oriented mind and a positive attitude.

What advice would you give to assistants just starting their career?
Keep an open mind, be flexible, and speak up if you feel something needs your input. Embrace the feedback and advice you get.

Liisa Veckman

Legal Assistant, Finance, Helsinki

Milloin urasi Hannes Snellmanilla alkoi?
Aloitin Hannes Snellmanilla tammikuussa 2002 eli reilu 16 vuotta sitten. Vuodet ovat menneet nopeasti!

Miten kuvailisit työpäivääsi?
Päivien sisältö vaihtelee hyvin paljon. Toistuvia töitä ovat laskutus, matka- ja kululaskut, kokous- ja ravintolavaraukset sekä ryhmään liittyvät hallinnolliset työt (tuntiraportointi, lomakirjanpito), koska olen ryhmänjohtajan assistentti. Työhön kuuluu kaikkea toimeksiannon elinkaaresta alusta loppuun, tarjousten laatimisessa auttamisesta closingia seuraaviin toimenpiteisiin. Lisäksi erilaisten kokousten ja tilaisuuksien järjestämistä sekä harjoittelijoiden ja uusien työntekijöiden opettamista. Assistentin työssä can do -asenne on tärkeää.

Miten kuvailisit tiimiäsi?
Työskentelen rahoitusryhmässä, ja tiimi on tärkein viihtyvyystekijä mielekkäiden töiden ohella. Tiimini on vaihtunut monilta osin työvuosieni aikana, mutta aina meillä on ollut mukavia ja fiksuja ihmisiä ja hyvä yhteishenki.

Mikä on mielestäsi parasta työssäsi ja missä voisi vielä parantaa?
Kaikessa lähtökohtana on asiakkaiden tyytyväisyys. Assistentin työssä tärkeintä on auttaa juristeja tekemään työnsä hyvin eli huolehtia, että pyydetyt asiat tehdään mahdollisimman hyvin ja aikataulussa. Tässä auttaa se, että tuntee prosessit ja työparinsa työskentelytavat. Kollegoilta voi aina pyytää apua kiiretilanteissa. Näidenkin vuosien jälkeen eteen tulee aina uusia asioita, sisäiset ja ulkoiset prosessit muuttuvat, tietotekniikka kehittyy ja uusia ohjelmia tulee koko ajan, mutta kehityshän on vain hyvä asia.

Miten kuvailisit Hannes Snellmanin kulttuuria?
Kauan talossa olleelle Hannes Snellman tuntuu kuin joukkueelta, jossa kaikki tukifunktioista partnereihin pelaavat samaa peliä ja tavoitteena on sama maali − asiakkaan tarpeiden täyttäminen parhaalla mahdollisella tavalla. Tähän liittyy suuresti myös kaikkien työntekijöiden arvostaminen. Jokainen tuo omalla sarallaan panoksensa siihen, että kaikki pyörii tehokkaasti ja laadukkaasti.

Hanna-Mari Mudi

Legal Assistant, M&A, Helsinki

When did you start working at Hannes Snellman?
I joined Hannes Snellman in August 2016 after working at a smaller law firm for three years. I work in the M&A group, and last year I was on an internal secondment at Hannes Snellman’s Stockholm office for about seven months.

What kinds of skills are required in an assistant’s work?
As a legal assistant, you need to be flexible, good at multi-tasking, organised and have great teamwork skills. Having an understanding of the legal industry and constantly developing your professional skills is also essential. Furthermore, you often end up advising your colleagues or solving problems relating to different software, so being a bit of an IT nerd is always a bonus!

How does internationality show in an assistant’s work?
Having excellent English skills is naturally a must since most documents and client correspondence is in English. It is also good to have a basic knowledge of languages of the neighbouring countries, as you might find yourself searching for company documents in Danish or Estonian, for example. Furthermore, you need to remain conscious of people working in different time zones.

What did you enjoy best about your secondment at the Stockholm office?
The welcoming atmosphere, lovely colleagues, and coffee the way I like it (strong and dark!). Stockholm is a lovely, beautiful city to live in, and it was interesting to get to know the Swedish working culture.

What was challenging in working abroad?
Although my Swedish has always been quite good, it did take some time to get used to discussing without thinking too much in social situations. In addition, while the Swedish culture is quite close to the Finnish, there are still differences between the two.

What are your TOP 3 tips for secondments?

  1. Actively take notes from both offices and share the best practices. Use the opportunity to increase knowledge and improve routines.
  2. You will not only be going abroad to work but also to learn about the social culture and working environment and to explore what the city has to offer. My colleagues were always happy to help me with things to do and new restaurants, etc.
  3. When you have the chance, go for it! You will never regret the decision, as there is so much to learn and see.

Sonia Elg

Legal Assistant, IP & Technology, Helsinki

How did you end up working as a legal assistant?
With a bachelor’s degree from the degree programme for multilingual management assistants and my precise nature, combined with a passion for the legal industry, I felt this job was made for me. When I was just a little girl, my godfather, who was a lawyer, used to say that one day I am going to work for him. I never got a chance to do that, but now I get to work with amazing colleagues here at Hannes Snellman.

When did you start working at Hannes Snellman?
I started working at Hannes Snellman in 2015. I graduated from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in 2014, and, before that, I worked as a legal assistant trainee in a law firm in Helsinki. After graduating, I took my first maternity leave and then joined Hannes Snellman’s Dispute Resolution team as a legal assistant in October 2015. In January 2019, after my second maternity leave, I continued working in our IP&Tech team.

What kind of skills are required from a good legal assistant?
A good legal assistant is always up to speed and pulling the strings. Good organisational, IT, document management, information retrieval, and language skills are required from a proficient legal assistant. It is essential to be both a self-imposed individual and a team player. In addition, a good legal assistant has an understanding of the legal industry.

What would you say are the best and the most challenging things in a legal assistant’s job?
One of the best things in a legal assistant’s job is knowing your work is valuable for both the team and the client and that your input is needed to achieve the best results in cases.

The most challenging thing is that hours go by so fast! As they say, time flies when you are having fun.

As a legal assistant, how can you affect your own development and career?
As a legal assistant, you continuously learn new things. Every working day is different and almost every day you learn something new. Having an open mind and a motivated attitude helps your development. Hannes Snellman also constantly offers training for employees.

Is it easy to combine work and family life?
One of the key things in combining family life and work life is, in my opinion, that both the employee and the employer are flexible to a certain extent. Even though the legal industry and its strict deadlines can, at times, be challenging from a family-life point of view, my experience is that here at Hannes Snellman everything has worked out just fine. My husband is also supportive and we share responsibility for the children. Having a job that I really enjoy gives me energy in my family life and vice versa — spending time with my family gives me strength in my work life. It is all about finding the right balance between the two elements.

How would you describe the Hannes Snellman culture?
Here at Hannes Snellman, we have an inclusive atmosphere. In addition to working with your own team, you get to work with other teams and support functions and even with people from the Stockholm office. Hannes Snellman is one great team!

What would you say to those considering working as a legal assistant in a law firm?
I can totally recommend my job for anyone who wants a challenging, interesting, and rewarding career.