Career Stories | Legal Assistant Trainees | Spring & Summer 2023, Helsinki
19 September 2023
Abigail Edleston, Veera Karhu, and Pinja Ylisuutari have been working as legal assistant trainees at Hannes Snellman’s Helsinki office since January 2023. Veera and Pinja are both finishing their undergraduate degree in business administration at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, while Abigail has recently graduated from the same undergraduate programme. Since they have now been working with us for some time, we asked them a few questions about their trainee experiences at Hannes.
How did you end up working at Hannes Snellman?
Abigail: I was searching for a place to complete my internship and found Hannes Snellman’s ad on Haaga-Helia’s Job Teaser website.
Veera: I was on a study exchange in Indonesia last autumn, and my plan was to do my internship when I get back. I had heard of Hannes before, since our study programme in Haaga-Helia does a lot of co-operation with different law firms.
Pinja: I already became interested in an internship at Hannes Snellman during a professional growth course in my freshman year at Haaga-Helia, where Mari from the HR Team was a guest speaker. Last autumn, when the internship started to be relevant for me, I applied a couple of days before I came to the office for an excursion through school, and it only strengthened the feeling that I would like to do an internship here.
Which team do you work in and what is included in your “normal working day”?
Abigail: During my traineeship I worked in the Real Assets Team, and my normal working day depended on ongoing projects, but it included drafting and proofreading legal documents, updating documents, creating CRM activities, and posting associate trainees’ hours to our billing system. Since I recently graduated, I have now started working as a legal assistant in our IP & Technology Team. It has also been interesting to get to learn about my new team.
Veera: I have worked in the Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Employment Teams, and during the summer holidays I have also assisted in the Tax Team. My day starts by going through e-mail, checking the calendar, and posting associate trainees’ hours to our billing system. Everything else depends on the ongoing projects, holidays, etc. within the team.
Pinja: I first worked in the Dispute Resolution and Competition & Regulatory Teams. My normal working day consists mainly of administrative tasks and assisting lawyers and assistants in project-related matters. I also had some daily tasks to do, for example posting trainees’ hours and going through e-mail and calendar. This autumn I have prolonged my traineeship at Hannes, and now I am working in the Real Assets Team.
What have been the biggest learnings or takeaways for you during your traineeship?
Abigail: I think getting familiar with how a law firm operates has been one the biggest learnings. Also, my IT skills have improved a lot.
Veera: I have got familiar with financing documents and other agreements, learnt more IT skills, and become best friends with the printer.
Pinja: It has been interesting to understand various legal procedures in a law firm and to learn how to use different software efficiently, manage legal documents, and understand the filing procedures of different authorities. Also, I have learned how important good communication skills are when working in a team.
How would you describe the culture at Hannes Snellman?
Abigail: Professional and fast-paced but fun and rewarding. There is also an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration.
Veera: Hard-working and ambitious but also supportive.
Pinja: Professional, responsible, and supportive work environment for trainees.
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 the things are that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?
Abigail: Continuous learning, developing new skills and knowledge, and encouraging colleagues.
Veera: Co-operating with others, the feeling of accomplishing something together as a team, and mutual respect no matter what your position might be.
Pinja: Helping others with their work, being a part of a motivating work environment, and the opportunity to gain practical experience while developing my skills.
Way of Commuting: Abigail: Walking; Veera: Cycling; Pinja: Walking
Book: Abigail: Stephen King’s books; Veera: Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup; Pinja: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lunch: Abigail: Salad; Veera: Poke bowl; Pinja: Salad
Podcast: Abigail: Either Viki & Köpi podcast or Nikotellen; Veera: I don’t listen to podcasts, can’t relax and focus on what they are saying at the same time; Pinja: Nikotellen
Work Equipment: Abigail: Ergonomic desk; Veera: Extra screens; Pinja: Two screens
Afternoon Routine: Abigail: During the week: going to the gym or for a run. During the weekend: having a long afternoon nap; Veera: Going for a long walk with my dog; Pinja: Going out for a walk
Mobile Application: Abigail: WhatsApp; Veera: Weather; Pinja: Spotify
Relaxation Method: Abigail: Going for a walk with my dog; Veera: Kickboxing and sleeping; Pinja: Watching a good series
Work Outfit: Abigail: T-shirt and loose black trousers; Veera: Anything comfy; Pinja: Jumper and black suit pants
Social Media Channel: Abigail: Instagram; Veera: -; Pinja: TikTok
Drink: Abigail: Sparkling water; Veera: Vichy double salted; Pinja: Nocco
Weekday: Abigail: Saturday; Veera: Friday; Pinja: Friday
Leisure Activity: Abigail: Gym and cooking; Veera: Travelling and hiking; Pinja: Sunbathing and swimming