Greetings from Alumni: Laura Virkkala, Legal Officer at Sampo plc
29 November 2021
This time in our Greetings from Alumni series, you will meet our alumna Laura Virkkala, who works as a legal officer at Sampo plc. During her time at Hannes between 2012 and 2020, Laura worked as an executive assistant, assistant to managing partner, and legal assistant.
Hi Laura, how has the second half of the year been so far?
Thank you, it has been very good. After starting at my new job mid-covid, I am now happy that we have established a good hybrid routine with our team and I finally get to meet more colleagues f2f and work in the office as well. Life seems to slowly get back to somewhat normal, and I look forward to planning a vacation which I love doing.
You work as a legal officer at Sampo plc. Could you tell us about your work — what are some of the tasks that are included in your daily routines?
My daily and weekly tasks are mostly based on the annual cycle of governance work. I am responsible for scheduling board and committee meetings and for the material coordination of said meetings. This also includes drafting meeting agendas and minutes and preparation work regarding various board matters. I also communicate and coordinate with the Financial Supervisory Authority on several subjects. Trademark management is my responsibility and with colleagues, I coordinate data privacy work. I also provide support for the legal team and the board secretary.
At Hannes, you worked in several different assistant roles. If you think back, what kind of qualities do you think are essential for an assistant in a law firm and what kind of person has the best possibilities to succeed in the assistant role?
I genuinely think that the most essential quality is to absorb the idea that the core of being an assistant in a law firm is to help with all tasks that a partner or a lawyer should not spend their time on. This idea goes a long way, and I feel like that is why I had a great relationship with the lawyers I worked with. In addition, an assistant should naturally be willing to help others, be very precise, have good IT and social skills, be orderly and have a good eye for the game, and be able to prioritise well and juggle multiple things at the same time.
Sustainability themes are high on every company’s agenda. How is sustainability present in your daily work and are you participating in some way in Sampo’s sustainability efforts?
One part of sustainability is good governance, which Sampo considers to be one of the preconditions for ensuring corporate responsibility. I am working with various kinds of governance matters, and good corporate governance is of utmost importance in our board and committee work. Also, adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and internal guidelines is an established principle of Sampo Group’s corporate culture. I get to work within this well-prepared framework of practices and guidelines regarding corporate governance and business operations, and the expectation is that corporate responsibility will only gain a bigger role in the future and grow more important amongst all our stakeholders.
What advice would you give yourself on your first day at a law firm?
I would say to have an open mind and to be receptive to new things and ways of working and especially to meeting new people. A new job and a new environment will take time to adapt to, so do not hesitate to ask for help and do not be too hard on yourself. Also, remember to have some fun with your new amazing colleagues!
What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?
I am very grateful for all the colleagues who I got to work with. In general, my time at Hannes was filled with happy memories. The most memorable events have been all the great parties and trips and a few late-night projects.