News & Views

Career Stories | Valter Pasanen, Tech Trainee, Helsinki

4 April 2023

Hi Valter, how are you?

Hello, thank you for asking. I am doing well! The past few months have been quite busy with a variety of projects, but that is a part of this exiting role, and I am looking forward to what comes next.                         

You started your traineeship six months ago in our Tech and Innovation Team. How did you end up as a tech trainee at Hannes Snellman?

I was always interested in combining my passion for law with my interest in technology. As I was studying in Oslo for my LL.M. I looked for opportunities to gain practical work experience on the side and where technology and law would play a role. Norway has been a forefront in adapting these roles into their companies, but I was adamant that I would move back to Finland, so I focused on finding a position here. Hannes presented itself as a great opportunity to join a team of enthusiastic legal technologists, which really stood out, and who had an excellent grasp over their field.

What was your first impression of Hannes Snellman?

As a tech trainee at Hannes Snellman, my first impression of the law firm was overwhelmingly positive. From the very beginning of my traineeship, I felt warmly welcomed by my colleagues and was impressed by the firm's culture of collaboration and innovation.

Another aspect that I appreciated was the firm's commitment to staying at the forefront of legal tech and innovation. With a dedicated Legal Tech team and a culture that encourages experimentation and creativity, I felt that with my knowledge of the digital legal field and technical skills I would fit right in.

You have interesting background of studying abroad. Can you tell us about that?

I've always been interested in law and had a passion for participating in some international programmes, which really sparked my interest in studying abroad. This led me to pursue a bachelor's degree in the field of law in Tallinn. Studying abroad was a great choice as it provided me with great connections and friends throughout Europe and the world.

After completing my bachelor's degree, I decided to pursue an LL.M. with a focus on privacy and technology and found a programme in information and communications technology (ICT) law in Oslo, Norway. It was a challenging programme, but also incredibly rewarding. I learned so much about the legal aspects of emerging technologies like the digital services sphere, AI and robotics law, and cybersecurity and also gained valuable insights into different legal systems and perspectives from around the world.

How would you describe your normal workday? What kind of tasks are included in a tech trainee’s workdays?

A typical workday is hard to describe as it varies a lot, but it usually starts with going through my messages and checking my calendar for upcoming meetings. As a tech trainee, I'm involved in a lot of projects related to legal tech, so my schedule often includes meetings and projects related to upcoming deadlines, demos, innovation, and problem solving.

In terms of tasks, I spend a lot of time working on automation projects and researching the latest developments in the legal tech field. This involves everything from developing and implementing automation solutions, such as document templates, for legal processes to analysing emerging trends and technologies that could impact the legal industry in the future.

Overall, it's a very diverse and dynamic role that requires a mix of legal knowledge and technical skills.

What has been the best and what has been the most challenging part of working as a tech trainee?

As a tech trainee at Hannes Snellman, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects that involve developing and implementing automation solutions. It has been incredibly rewarding to be involved in projects from start to finish and witness their successful completion. Being a part of such projects has given me the chance to learn, develop, and further the interest and passion I have for what I do.

However, with the opportunity to work on multiple projects at the same time, the biggest challenge I have faced has been keeping up with the varying demands and requirements. But it has also been the fun part to have a diverse and challenging work environment that requires efficient time management and effective communication skills.

What would you say are future lawyers’ top three qualities from the technology and innovation perspective?

As technology and innovation continue to transform the legal industry, future lawyers will need to possess a range of skills and qualities to succeed. Here are three qualities that I believe are particularly important:

  1. Technological literacy. The ability to understand and work with technology is essential for lawyers today. Future lawyers must be comfortable with a range of tools and platforms, from document management systems to e-discovery software to automation tools. They should also have a basic understanding of what legal tech could achieve and how it could help them.
  2. Creative problem-solving. Technology and innovation are constantly creating new challenges for lawyers to solve. Future lawyers must be able to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to complex problems. This requires a willingness to think outside the box and collaborate with others to develop solutions that are both effective and efficient.
  3. Adaptability. The legal industry is changing rapidly, and future lawyers must be able to adapt to new technologies and working environments. This requires a willingness to learn new skills, experiment with new tools and technologies, and embrace change as a necessary part of the profession. Future lawyers should also be comfortable working in remote or virtual environments, as these are becoming increasingly common in the legal industry.

These qualities can be invaluable when working with tech clients or on tech-related cases.

How would you describe the Hannes culture?

The Hannes culture for me is all about professionalism, collaboration, and diversity. There is an emphasis on encouraging others to contribute with ideas and insights and welcoming new perspectives. Even though some tasks may be quite individual, there is never a feeling that you could not ask for help. The Hannes culture is also about growth, learning, and a focus on your professional development. Overall, I feel that the Hannes culture is about encouraging people to reach their full potential.

What do you like doing in your spare time? How do you take care of your well-being?

In my spare time, I enjoy being active and spending time outdoors. I find it refreshing to disconnect from technology and spend time in nature, whether it's cycling, playing frisbee golf, or just taking a walk. I also love cooking. The best part is to try to create a dish out of an unfamiliar ingredient. And when I need to unwind, I like to sit down and play video games with friends. Taking care of my well-being is important to me, and I make sure to prioritise self-care activities.        

What are your top three tips for future tech trainees?

I would say that my top three tips for future tech trainees are:

  1. Be curious/creative and willing to experiment with different solutions to find the best fit for the problem at hand. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and try new things. Being curious about solving problems could allow for new steps to be taken to streamline processes.
  2. Be proactive and take initiative. As a tech trainee, you have the opportunity to learn and contribute to innovative projects. Take the initiative to ask questions, suggest ideas, and seek out new learning opportunities.
  3. Develop strong communication skills. As a tech trainee, you will be working closely with both legal and tech teams, so it's important to be able to effectively communicate complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.

One theme popping up in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask you what the things are that keep you going and motivated in your work — what is the purpose of your work?

For me, what really keeps me motivated in my work is the diversity of assignments and being able to participate in projects from start to finish. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to work on a wide range of projects and witness their successful completion. I believe that having a purpose in work is essential, and for me, it's all about contributing, accomplishing goals, and learning something new.


FAVOURITE | Way of Commuting: Train; Lunch: Something with salmon for sure; Work Equipment: A notebook to scribble in; Mobile Application: Spotify is probably my most used; Relaxation Method: I would say I find cooking very relaxing; Work Outfit: Something stylish but comfortable; Drink: A good cup of coffee or anything with ginger; Weekday: Saturday mornings are the best; Leisure Activity: Disc golf in the summer

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