Brave new world
I spent the summer of 2007 at Linklaters before joining the Capital Markets practice in London in September 2008. My first day at work was the Monday after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, so I got thrown into the deep end right away. The deals we were doing in response to the financial crisis were particularly complex and high profile and even junior members of the team were tasked with responsibility for integral parts of the transactions. It was scary but also exciting and a fantastic way to learn and develop confidence in my technical and commercial skills, all of which continues to serves me well.
Nurturing women's talents
I’ve taken part in Linklaters’ Women’s Leadership Programme (WLP), which is just one of many diversity and inclusion initiatives run by the firm. The WLP runs for nine months at a time with cohorts of 25 senior women from all around the global network and aims to foster and develop their talent with the ultimate goal of increasing levels of female presence in the leadership of the firm.
The WLP has been developed with Cranfield School of Management and has fantastic support at all levels of the firm, all the way up to the Senior and Managing Partners. It comprises a series of in-person events where all 25 participants gather together for a few days of intensive work (my cohort had a kick-off event in Frankfurt and a closing event in Paris), as well as online training sessions, work with an executive coach and smaller group sessions. I’ve found it invaluable in so many ways, from helping me to explore my leadership style and take practical steps to further my career and personal development, to opening up networking and sponsorship opportunities that have raised my personal profile within the firm.
Mentee and mentor
Mentoring is a big part of the Linklaters culture. There are a number of programs in place around the firm, both formal and informal, and we put a lot of effort in applying this ethos to our summer associate program. Each summer associate is allocated an associate mentor and a partner mentor. You’ll also make informal connections with people you work with and meet during the program, which we actively encourage so that you always feel like you’ve got someone looking out for you and who you can look to for guidance.
I also act as a workflow coordinator for our summer associates, making sure they get a good variety of work (both in terms of substance and deal teams) during their time with us. Students often ask me what it takes to succeed at Linklaters. My advice is be open and curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We don’t expect summer associates or first-year lawyers to know how to write a prospectus or manage a transaction when they join – but you can make a really positive impression by asking thoughtful questions and showing a keen interest in our clients, transactions and markets.