What we realized throughout The Authorized Cheek-ULaw Summer season 2021 digital trip program

Juliet Griffiths, a student at Southampton University, gains insights into business law

The Legal Cheek Summer 2021 Virtual Vacation Scheme, in partnership with the University of Law (ULaw), attended workshops hosted by a number of the city’s top law firms and in-house teams, as well as written case studies from ULaw.

I participated in the Scheme that ran for a week this month and below share my insights into business law.

day 1

Session 1: Understanding the World in 2021 – with Slaughter and May

The speakers:

• Robert Byk, partner at Slaughter and May

What we learned:

Slaughter and May partner Robert Byk kicked off this year’s summer vacation program with some invaluable career tips, reminding students that “when you live your life and dedicate yourself to your passions and interests, they become apparent in much more than just your resume.”

Following the main discussion, Byk emphasized that the past 18 months have presented both challenges and opportunities for society. The pandemic and the shift to working remotely have forced us to reinvent the way we connect with each other. It was not without its challenges, however, and Byk emphasized that disrupted work processes have made many workers feel more isolated than ever.

Crucially, this turbulent time has exposed the ongoing severity of domestic violence, racism, mental health and ecosystem issues, said Byk, who said these issues can no longer be ignored.

After several public figures lost power, the pandemic has also sparked a discussion about the law itself and how it must be respected in order to be respected.

Session 2: How the business law market works: in own and private practice – with accutrainee and leading in-house lawyers

The speakers:

• Susan Cooper, Founder and CEO of Accutrainee
• Suzy Vickers, UK Market Counsel at American Express
• Prabhgat Singal, NQ attorney and former intern at Accutrainee
• Henry Raine, Managing Director at Promontory Financial Group and former Senior Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills

What we learned:

During this workshop the speakers explained the difference between in-house and private practice; In-house lawyers provide legal advice to a single client (their company), while freelance lawyers typically specialize in a specific area of ​​law and offer their services to multiple clients.

Former Hogan Lovells attorney Susan Cooper, who later founded Accutrainee, an organization that places trainees internally and within companies, encouraged viewers to display proactivity, effective communication, and emotional intelligence in order to succeed in the profession. This advice was echoed by panelist Henry Raine, who summed up that “what customers buy is personal relationships”.

day 2

Session 3: Smart Cities – with Gowling WLG

The speakers:

• David Lowe, partner at Gowling WLG
• Jocelyn Paulley, partner at Gowling WLG
• Sebina Auckburally, Senior Associate at Gowling WLG
• Dominic Richardson, Legal Director at Gowling WLG

What we learned:

In this presentation, moderated by lawyers from Gowling WLG, we were introduced to the “Smart City” – an urban area that uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to collect data and promote sustainable development. As panelist Jocelyn Paulley pointed out, facial recognition software, environmental sensors, and other innovations that seem to belong in science fiction films are indeed an impending reality for many cities. Unsurprisingly, the idea of ​​collecting and using personal information from individuals raises a myriad of ethical issues that lawyers continue to face.

We were reminded again of the role of the pandemic in driving change in a number of sectors by forcing cities to reassess how they work.

Session 4: What the G7 Global Corporate Income Tax Plan means for the world economy – with Freshfields and Devereux Chambers

The speakers:

• Sarah Bond, partner at Freshfields
• Rebecca Murray, Attorney at Devereux Chambers

What we learned:

In this workshop, the speakers shared their enthusiasm for tax law and advised the students not to dismiss such subjects as “boring” or “boring” without ever having experienced them.

The focus of their discussion was the recent G7 agreement on global tax reform. Until now, multinational companies only had to pay corporation tax if they were “physically present”. As stated by Freshfields partner Sarah Bond, the new system aims to ensure that multinational companies pay their fair share of corporate tax in the countries in which they operate.

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Day 3

Session 5: Finance and Capital Markets – with Ropes & Gray

The speakers:

• Elizabeth Baek, Ropes & Gray employee

What we learned:

During that session, Elizabeth Baek, Associate at Ropes & Gray explained how she got into debt finance and offered students a snapshot of life in this busy practice area. In particular, she talked about how her tasks can vary from drawing up loan agreements to looking after customers to looking after trainees and that there is no such thing as a “typical” day in this practice.

Accordingly, the case study exercise of this session reaffirmed the importance of time management and flexibility in this area of ​​practice, especially when obligations need to be changed at the last minute.

At the end of their discussion, Baek encouraged us not to be discouraged by rejection, however difficult it may seem. From personal experience, Baek assured viewers that rejection is something all budding lawyers face, and so we should deprive each other of the strength to get through these difficult times.

Employability exhibition

With lectures from Clare Stapleton, Chelsea Parkin, John McKeown, Keith Taylor and Rebecca Schrod from ULaw, this year’s jam-packed Employability Expo gave us invaluable insight into ULaw’s employability support, covering a range of topics including apprenticeship applications, interview skills and social media Mastery.

We also received an explanation of the upcoming Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), which is intended to replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC) as the central path to qualification as a lawyer. Sarah Pooley, who moderated the discussion, compared the two courses and outlined the pros and cons of each route. Ultimately, there seems to be little choice until the LPC is fully phased out.

Day 4

Session 6: Business Skills for Lawyers of the Future – with The O-Shaped Lawyer

The speakers:

• Dan Kayne, General Counsel (Routes) for Network Rail
• Katie Barker, Skadden Employee
• Harry Mellor, Client Development Manager at Flex Legal
• Natalie Salunke, head of the legal department at RVU

What we learned:

In contrast to the “T-shaped attorney”, where legal knowledge is seen as the foundation of a successful legal career with commercial, technical and soft skills at the top, the “O-shaped attorney” argues that interpersonal skills are equally important, if not more, important.

In this workshop we learned something about the five “Os” – open-minded, original, opportunistic, independent and optimistic – and how the O-Shaped Lawyer Project aims to promote these traits among prospective lawyers.

An important finding from the panel discussion was the “human” dimension of law; As Harry Mellor pointed out, most customers value your interactions based on how, not what, you shared with them.

Session 7: Litigation & Arbitration – with Akin Gump, BCLP and Gatehouse Chambers

The speakers:

• Kambiz Larizadeh, partner at Akin Gump
• Rebecca Campbell, partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
• Frederico Singarajah, attorney at Gatehouse Chambers

What we learned:

Building on the workshop in the morning, the overarching topic of this session was the topic of opportunities. The panel discussion was mainly devoted to their unique career paths, which demonstrated that there is no single path to justice. As the speakers have repeatedly pointed out, it is perfectly normal to change the direction of our careers over time. Frederico Singarajah, who qualified as a lawyer before moving to a legal career, emphasized the need to be open-minded when starting our own careers – because it is impossible to really know where our interests lie if we have not allowed ourselves to Gaining experience all the possibilities.

Day 5

Session 8: Competition law after Brexit – with CMS

The speakers:

• Russell Hoare, partner at CMS
• Lucy Charatan, Associate at CMS

What we learned:

As we neared the end of this year’s summer vacation program, we were introduced to the world of competition law and its numerous applications. To underline the versatility of their work in this area, Russell Hoare and Lucy Charatan, both lawyers at CMS, brought us to the attention of some of their outstanding cases. In 2019, for example, they were involved in the competition and market regulator’s decision to block the proposed merger of Sainsburys and ASDA on the grounds that it would harm national competition.

In addition to investigating the effects of mergers, aspiring competition lawyers can face cases related to antitrust, state aid, public procurement and international sanctions.

Session 9: Tomorrow’s Technology and Advocacy – with iManage, Legl, Osborne Clarke and ULaw

The speakers:

• Jack Shepherd, head of the law firm at iManage
• Julia Salasky, CEO at Legl
• Rebecca Chui, employee at Osborne Clarke
• Patrick Grant, project manager for legal tech and innovation at ULaw

What we learned:

In this final workshop, Jack Shepherd, head of the law firm at tech start-up iManage, explained how technologies such as AI-based document review tools, contract management systems and remote working software can be used to make the legal profession more efficient. The lawtech sector has grown in importance in the past 18 months, with many companies expressing their openness to technological innovation.

In our final case study of the week, ULaw asked us to consider the likelihood of automating different occupations and whether technology could completely take over our lives.

At the end of this session, Patrick Grant from ULaw emphasized that while legal tech will become more important in the future, it is ultimately up to us how it is used.

Juliet Griffiths is an Administrative Assistant at Legal Cheek. She is studying history at Southampton University, but is hoping for a career as a lawyer.

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