Joanne H.

Senior Commercial Lawyer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Joanne H.
United Kingdom

My employment

Senior Commercial Lawyer
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Senior Commercial Lawyer in the United Kingdom

What I do

I'm a Senior Commercial Lawyer working in an in-house Legal Team.
I give advice across a wide range of topics, particularly in regulatory, consumer and commercial law. I draft and negogiate contracts and help the business understand manage their legal risks.

Skills I use and how I developed them

My role requires me to be solution orientated, analytical and pragmatic. I've developed lots of legal knowledge over a number of years, but I have to make that accessible for commercial colleagues, so I need to be able to understand the bigger business picture. Sometimes this needs me to be persuasive or assertive.
I built up some of my understanding of the law and legal risks through research and reading, but most of it came with experience. I learnt a lot of my skills and expertise by throwing myself in at the deep end or volunteering for new things to push myself - but I had a great manager and a good supportive team around me that I could lean on and learn from.

What I like most

No two days are ever the same. Working in-house gives you a huge amount of variety and the opportunity to try lots of different things.

What I like least

I love my job, but it can be very challenging and you have to work at quite a pace. Most of the time I really enjoy the stretch and it can be a real rollercoaster, but sometimes that can also be frustrating or stressful.

What surprised me most

The variety - I was worried when I started work there would be a lot of repetition.

How I looked for work

I found paralegal temporary work quite easily with a local employment agency that advertised on campus. I also had other part-time work by walking in with my CV.
Getting a training contract was sole destroying and took a lot of persistence.
I found legal job fairs really frustrating as I felt they were always looking for straight A's at A-level and I didn't have that. I applied for so many, but eventually got one by joining a company in a none-legal role and then later moving into Legal as a trainee.

What has helped my career to progress

Getting feedback - understanding how other people perceive you and where you add value for them allows you to play to your strengths.

Courses taken since graduation

When I left York, I went on to take my Postgraduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School.
I've also done the IOSH Safety for Directors course as well as internal company courses.

How my studies have helped my career

I use the same scientific analytical and reasoning skills that I needed when I was studying at York and also the ability to sift through lots of information quickly. Managing deadlines and doing presentations also helped

What surprised me about my career so far

That what I do is nothing like what I thought I'd be doing when I left York!

My advice to students considering work

Get work experience - not always directly in the area you want to go into, but in an area that might use similar skills.

My advice about working in my industry

Do your research. It's a rapidly changing market and you need to understand where the focus will be over the next years and decades.

Contacting me

I'm happy to answer questions about:
Working as in-house lawyer? Working in the energy sector? My development journey?

Next steps...

If you like the look of Joanneā€™s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Joanne a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Joanne to be your mentor.

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