Career Stories | Legal Assistant Trainees | Autumn 2023, Helsinki
17 January 2024
Antti Kainulainen, Janette Nisula, Jasmin Salama, and Janina Wessman have been working as legal assistant trainees at Hannes Snellman’s Helsinki office since August 2023. Antti, Janette, and Janina are currently finishing their undergraduate degrees in business administration at Metropolia, Laurea, and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, while Jasmin has recently graduated with a BBA degree from LAB University of Applied Sciences.
How did you end up working at Hannes Snellman?
Antti: Because of my studies. During the second year, I became interested in legal terms and development of working society and leadership. During the autumn, I had several chances to talk with Hannes Snellman’s Janita and Mari about the company and its trainee programme. I got a good feeling about the company and the traineeship, so it was kind of a logical choice for me to apply for the position of a legal assistant trainee.
Janette: I was supposed to come to Hannes Snellman’s office for an excursion together with my class but unfortunately I could not make it, so instead I watched a video about Hannes Snellman's earlier excursion. The video was very validating, and I immediately had a feeling that I really want to apply and do my internship here, so I applied and now I am here!
Jasmin: I knew I wanted to work in a law firm and found out Hannes was looking for trainees. I was very impressed with the firm and decided to apply.
Janina: I study at Haaga-Helia, and my former study programme “Business service solutions and languages” does a lot of co-operation with different law firms. We had an excursion at Hannes, and after that I was really convinced about the trainee programme and Hannes’s corporate culture. If I compare this trainee programme to some others, I think this is very well organised and structured, so it really gives a great learning opportunity. It was an easy decision as Hannes happened to be recruiting at the time!
What is included in a “normal working day”?
Antti: Normally my day starts with some day-to-day administrative tasks. This includes several things such as checking associate trainees’ work hours and adding them to our billing system. After the administrative tasks, the days/afternoons are never the same. Sometimes we can have more administrative tasks and sometimes client work.
Janette: I would say that every day is different, so it is a bit difficult to say what a normal working day usually includes. Good communication skills are essential in this job as we get different work tasks through various different channels, and we need to respond to them accordingly. I also post associate trainees’ hours to our billing system, and the rest depends on the day and the team.
Jasmin: During my traineeship, I have worked in the Dispute Resolution and Competition & Regulatory Teams. My day starts by checking the e-mail and calendar and posting associate trainees’ hours to our billing system. Usually, the day consists of client work or other smaller tasks. Every day is different, and you never know what the day brings along.
Janina: I work in IP & Technology and Tax Teams. Usually, my day includes administrative tasks, for example calendar coordination as well as working with legal documentation and organising meetings and events. We have quite a lot of meetings and lectures on current topics, so these bring structure to the days and keep my mind fresh.
What do you like about your job?
Antti: I like the balance between work and other things in life. I have time for friends, hobbies, school, etc. so work is not taking all of my energy. Finding the right balance between work and social life is the key for me so I don’t need to cut off things that I enjoy doing.
Janette: Besides great colleagues and diversity of the work tasks, I like the fact that I actually feel that what I do is important and valuable. The feeling I get when helping my co-workers motivates me to do more and more!
Jasmin: I feel like I’m an equal member of the team, and I like the fact that by sharing what your interests are, you can have an effect on the kinds of tasks you get.
Janina: My job is very versatile, and it supports my professional development. At the start of my trainee period, I told the client relations team what my personal interests are and I have also been able to participate in organising client events. It’s super important that the work environment and your colleagues support your interests and goals as much as possible.
What have been the biggest learnings or takeaways for you during your traineeship?
Antti: Probably the overall experience from the traineeship. I had no experience of working in an office nor any experience related to my studies, so basically this whole traineeship has been a huge learning experience for me.
Janette: My IT skills have improved since I started working here, and also the “office environment” has been new for me so it has been nice to get to know how a law firm operates.
Jasmin: It’s been very interesting to see how things are done in a large law firm. I have learned a lot about different legal procedures, and I feel like my IT skills have become even better.
Janina: I feel that I have learned to prioritise things better and to admit more courageously if I need help.
One theme that currently stands out in working life discussions is that of purpose. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask you what are the things that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?
Antti: For me it is important to understand what we do and why we do them. I’d say that it is the key for motivation. Even though I’m still learning various tasks, it is good to know that even while learning, the work that I do has a meaning and a purpose.
Janette: Like I said earlier, the feeling when you know you have done something valuable motivates me. Being a part of a motivating work environment, the fact that I am developing new skills keeps me going and motivates to do and learn even more. Also, the colleagues that I work with matters a lot, so I am happy that I get to work with people who are very professional and encourages me.
Jasmin: Helping others, feeling that your work matters and encouraging colleagues.
Janina: I’m interested in many different things and feel like I learn something new every day here. As mentioned before, I also feel that my interests are heard and my goals are supported, so that definitely gives me motivation. I also enjoy helping others and putting a smile on someone’s face keeps me going.
Book: Antti: The Hunger Games; Janette: I don’t read; Jasmin: -; Janina: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg and Deepak Chopra. Lunch: Antti: Salmon Soup; Janette: Soup with cottage cheese; Jasmin: Salad; Janina: Relove’s lunch. Podcast: Antti: Jäljillä; Janette: Jäljillä; Jasmin: Jäljillä; Janina: Taskula & Trishin. Work Equipment: Antti: Dual monitors; Janette: Two screens; Jasmin: Two screens; Janina: Extra monitor. Afternoon Routine: Antti: Don’t have certain routine; Janette: Getting changed into cosy clothes; Jasmin: Going for a walk with my dog; Janina: Yoga / pilates class and cooking. Mobile Application: Antti: Instagram; Janette: WhatsApp; Jasmin: Spotify; Janina: Spotify. Relaxation Method: Antti: Music; Janette: Watching tv on the couch or going into sauna; Jasmin: Watching a good series; Janina: Yoga or a nap. Work Outfit: Antti: Something comfortable; Janette: Sports leggings and a comfortable shirt; Jasmin: Dress or trousers and a blouse; Janina: Sweater, skirt, and boots. Social Media Channel: All: Instagram. Drink: Antti: Apple juice; Janette: Flavoured Vichy; Jasmin: Coffee; Janina: Cappuccino with oat milk. Weekday: Antti: Wednesday; Janette: Saturday; Jasmin: Friday; Janina: Saturday. Leisure Activity: Antti: Various sports; Janette: Doing sports or spending time with friends and family; Jasmin: Gym and spending time with loved ones; Janina: Having a coffee and a walk with a friend.