Just a quick update post to let you know about my new ‘HarryClarkLaw’ Instagram and Twitter accounts! I’m hoping that these new platforms for the blog will allow me to share more of the creative behind-the-scenes process of my writing, as well as allowing me to keep in touch with my readers on a more frequent basis.
You can check out the link to my new accounts below, as well as my other main social media outlets for the blog. As always, you can also get in touch with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
“Everybody and their mother has a book and a podcast these days.”
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with Jaysen Sutton, founder of The Corporate Law Academy, in his ‘Trainee Talk’ podcast series.
TCLA aims to assist aspiring commercial solicitors in their journey towards a Training Contract, providing a number of guides, resources and mentoring contacts. The online learning platform is full of really useful information that is invaluable to helping you through the application process for commercial firms – from online applications right through to assessment centres and interviews. TCLA also runs a number of networking conferences and events, designed to help you learn more about what a trainee’s responsibilities are, learn more about a certain sector of commercial law, or to simply develop your professional network.
Their podcast series, ‘Trainee Talk’, interviews current and future trainee solicitors at various law firms on a broad variety of topics. During my podcast episode, entitled “Leveraging your Unique Selling Points”, I spoke about:
My journey into the world of Law and securing a Training Contract
The development of this blog and my plans for it in the future
Mental health and wellbeing within the legal sector
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness – especially for Law students
My advice regarding networking, drafting an application and interviewing
…and much more! You can find links to the podcast episode and TCLA below.
“Everything you want in life is a relationship away.”
I’m excited to announce the launch of a new series for my blog entitled ‘LawyersOfLinkedIn’.
Throughout my experiences of using LinkedIn and developing this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with some truly remarkable people within the legal sector. This series aims to give a brief glimpse into the thoughts and motivations behind some of those individuals in an interview-style format of Q&A. The series will aim to ask questions about a broad variety of topics and questions, but will always explore why that individual wanted to be a lawyer in the first place. The diversity and variety of responses I’ve received whilst asking those I know that question has always fascinated me and I hope this series will be a platform to share those aspirations with those of you reading.
I also want to try an encapsulate a broad variety of people for this series – from aspiring solicitors and trainees right through to partners and recruitment managers. In my view, the great range of backgrounds and experiences I can encompass the better! I’ll be running this series alongside, but separate to, a number of articles that contain interviews which are more topic-centric and not as extensive. For this series, however, I ultimately want to do my best to capture an individual’s ambitions within the legal world and a glimpse into their journey so far. I hope you enjoy it!
If you’d like to feature as one of the ‘LawyersOfLinkedIn’ in future, then (as the name suggests) feel free to drop me a connection request at the link below. If you’d rather get in touch with me by email, you can do so at email@example.com.
“Law provides a unique combination of commerciality and intellectual diversity, combined with client-facing responsibility and the intellectual rigour required to produce commercially sound advice.”
Today’s #LawyerOfLinkedIn is aspiring commercial solicitor and University of York graduate James McConkey. He has just achieved a Distinction in his combined LPC and Masters degree in Law & Business at the University of Law in London. I spoke with James about his motivations to join the profession, thoughts on the future disruption of technology within the sector and his experiences so far throughout the Training Contract application process.
So, what made you want to be a lawyer?
JM: “My initial interest in law was first sparked whilst completing my Extended Learning Project in Sixth Form, where I studied the commercial effects that the legalisation of Euthanasia would have in the UK. Following this, I actively pursued opportunities to begin my exposure to the world of law during my River Tour job, researching the employment contracts and attending licensing meetings with the local council.
During my time at university, I then began to complete more formal legal work experiences with Reed Smith, DAC Beachcroft and at the York Law Clinic. Working with Reed Smith, I understood that to formulate commercial advice for clients, one must understand the micro and macro aspects of their industry. During my IP work experience with DAC Beachcroft, we were advising on an international trademark dispute on one day and patent applications the next. I was struck by the way in which the profession is evolving, having to respond to progress in technology with new ways of thinking and advising. It is an exciting time to be a lawyer!
These experiences ultimately consolidated my passion to join the legal sector. Law provides a unique combination of commerciality and intellectual diversity, combined with client-facing responsibility and the intellectual rigour required to produce commercially sound advice.”
What’s surprised you the most so far about the training contract application process?
“During an interview for a law firm, the interviewer asked me “how would your friends describe you?”, followed by “what would they say behind your back?”. I thought it was quite a tough question to answer! It’s different to the traditional and more-expected “what are your biggest weaknesses” question. I had to do a bit of self-reflection and quick thinking to put together my answer.”
Speaking of law firms, what do you think is the biggest difficulty they will face in the future?
“I think for many law firms, one of the biggest difficulties they will face over the next few years will come in the form of technological disruptors, like AI or Blockchain technology. Many of the multi-million pound firms are attempting to maintain their current course with a gradual integration of this technology – but one could ask if there is any reason they should consider serious investment in retraining their staff or developing new technologies?
The answer may come with the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (“ABS”), under the Legal Services Act 2007. Accountancy firms, especially the Big Four, can now start to offer legal services in conjunction with their expertise financial advice. If this integration is continuous and successful, then this new emerging force within the legal sector could fundamentally and irreversibly change the market across the entirety of the profession.”
So how do you think the role of a trainee solicitor will change as this technology develops?
“It is undeniable that in years to come, AI will become more commonplace in legal practice. It does not necessarily mean, however, that trainees and lawyers alike will therefore become obsolete. Instead, in what some already deem to be the fourth industrial Revolution, soft skills will become even more important. As automation increases, trainees will be left surplus to requirements in relation to many traditional legal tasks, therefore requiring them to spend more time, say, with clients, rather than tasks like rule-based thinking and fact-finding research. High emotional intelligence will become increasingly desirable in order to satisfy these altered needs. Similarly, trainees and lawyers will need to be adaptable, curious and willing to use their initiative in order to deal with any consequences which they face due to these technological developments.”
I’d like to extend a big thank-you to James for agreeing to be my first contributor to my new #LawyersOfLinkedIn series. If you’d like to get in touch with James, or learn more about him, you can do so below.