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July 16 2020

My advice for junior lawyers

Tips & Tricks

sophie gould

sophie gould

My advice for junior lawyers

Joanne Theodoulou is the General Counsel and Company Secretary for Simply Business, the largest online business insurance provider in the UK. As an accomplished leader of legal teams, Joanne has a wealth of experience spanning city firms, start-ups, charities and global companies, as well as a passion for inclusion and mental health. Sophie Gould, head of learning and development at F-LEX, asks Joanne to share her wisdom and advice.  In part two of this interview Sophie asks Joanne what tips she has for junior lawyers starting their career in-house.

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses

As a junior lawyer going in house it is important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and whether they will fit within that culture. When it comes to recruitment for my team I want somebody that will complement my own strengths and weaknesses, and those of others in the team. 

Find out what helps you be your best self at work

I recommend drawing a timeline, popping in dates and the places you’ve worked at and then thinking about where the high points and the low points were. When looking at those high points, ask yourself, ‘what was it that made you happy while you were there?’, ‘what was it that made you thrive? ‘was it being surrounded by great people?’, ‘were you really good at that job?’ ‘were there friendly colleagues?’ ‘was it really good quality work that you were super interested in?’ ‘was it having a great boss?’. Do the opposite as well and think about the times when you were not happy and when something was not working. Find out what it is that helps you to be your best self at work, and what holds you back.

Research the kind of people a business attracts

When you're doing research on a company that you're thinking about working for, Google their people, don’t just look at their LinkedIn page. Have they written any articles on things they are doing outside of work? What kind of people does this place attract and what are those people about? When I was doing this for Simply Business, I was just struck by how varied people's backgrounds were, what they'd done, where they'd been, what they were doing outside work and it was all just fascinating. I got a sense before I even walked in the door that it was the sort of place that would value experience of any sort. The fact that they valued my board role at Mind, rather than worrying about how much time it would take up, confirmed my instincts that this was somewhere I would flourish.