Apr 10 '14
The seventh annual conference of the Junior Lawyers Division was held in London on Saturday. Speakers at the event included Fiona Woolf CBE, Lord Mayor of London and former president of the Law Society, Professor Dominic Regan and our very own Helen Hammond, founder of Elephant Creative!
In her keynote address, Fiona Woolf encouraged attendees to become involved in human rights and be concerned about upholding the rule of law. Woolf was instrumental in creating the Junior Lawyers division and the feedback she received from the audience was a reflection of the respect she has gained in this sector.
There was a focus on the role of women in the law sector throughout the conference. In a notable discussion with Alexandra Marks she gave the advice “As a female lawyer, find a supportive partner who will make sacrifices if necessary, to support your career”. Other advice for female lawyers included dealing with the negative vocabulary often used to describe women in the workplace. The words ‘bossy’ or ‘pushy’ are often used in relation to women but are not commonly used to describe male workers.
Helen Hammond, a professional services marketing expert who has worked with many UK and US law firms, gave a presentation in which she explained the importance of business development – selling your business and yourself. Hammond advised listeners to Google their names to see what information is available about them to potential employers. She stressed the positive role that social media can have in helping to shape others opinions of you and argued that social media should be used a tool to differentiate yourself.
The changing practices of the legal industry were also covered during the conference with attendees being warned that traditional pricing structures, such as billing by the hour, were quickly becoming out-dated. Profitability instead of time taken will soon become the modus operandi for law firms, challenging the belief that “the more stupid you are, the more you get”.
Other topics covered during the course of the event included Professor Dominic Reagan’s talk on The Jackson Reforms and how they translate into real world practices. The key aspects of anti-money laundering legislation was also discussed, informing junior lawyers of the main issues that they need to be aware of.
There were many positive lessons and pieces of advice to be taken away from the conference. Speakers urged junior lawyers to start thinking about the future of their career and hone their leadership skills – are they manager material? There were also a variety of specialists on hand to give guidance in exploring alternative legal careers and the different approaches that can be taken when it comes to qualifications and career satisfaction. Nicholas Fluck, current president of the law society encouraged guests with the statement “Nobody has balls like a junior lawyer!”