Entry 11 – references

Aldridge, A. (2014, July 14). Oxbridge and Russell Group graduates dominate latest trainee intake. Legal Cheek. Retrieved from http://www.legalcheek.com/2014/07/oxbridge-and-russell-group-graduates-dominate-latest-trainee-intake-of-top-law-firms/

 

Baker, A. (2013). The waiting game. Retrieved from http://changshahua.com/2012/06/09/the-waiting-game-chinese-hospitals/

 

Baksi, C. (2012, October 1). So you want to be an international lawyer?. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/oct/01/international-lawyer-asia

 

Barsh, J., &Cranston, S., & Craske, R.A. (2008). Centered leadership: How talented women thrive. McKinsey Quarterly. (September). 4-8.

 

Berry, L., & Davis., & S. Wilmet, J. (2015). When the customer is stressed. Harvard Business Review (October). 1-15.

 

Berwin Leighton Paiser. (2014). Gender statistics. Retrieved from http://www.blplaw.com/about-blp/diversity-inclusion

 

 

Deloitte. (2015). Commercial industry outlook. Retrieved from http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/real-estate/articles/2015-commercial-real-estate-outlook.html

 

Hunter, R. (2011). (De)sexing the woman Lawyer. In J. Jones, A. Grear, R. Fenton and K. Stevenson (Eds.), Gender, Sexualities and Law (pp. 21-42. London: Routledge.

 

Hynes, M. (2015, April 13). Selling yourself from day one. The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. Retrieved from http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Magazine/60-4/1019156.aspx

 

Jobbins, D. (2011, November 23). Russell Group under fire over class bias. The complete university guide. Retrieved from http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/news/russell-group-under-fire-over-class-bias/

 

Lee, T., & Cosgrove, T. (2014). Engaging doctors in the health car revolution. Harvard Business Review (June). 1-14.

 

London Mapper. (2014). Population pyramid for the United Kingdom 2014. Retrieved http://www.londonmapper.org.uk/megacity-london/

 

MacEwen, M. (1994). Anti-Discrimination Law in Great Britain. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 20.3. (May). 353-370.

 

Pekka, A. (2010). Social media, reputation risk and ambient publicity management. Strategy and Leadership (38,6). 43-49.

 

Peters, T. (2014). Leading the 21st century organization. McKinsey Quarterly (September). 2-14.

 

Phillips, T. (2009). Reputation Management for Law Firms. Ark Publishing.

Pridmore, V. (2015, March 5). How important is a law firm’s reputation?. [Weblog]. Retrieved from https://wetakecareofbusiness.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/how-important-is-a-law-firms-reputation/

 

Rienzo, C., & Vargas-Silva, C. (2014, December 19). Migrants in the UK: An overview. The Migration Observatory. Retrieved from http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/migrants-uk-overview

 

Roman, J. (2013, September 24). The puzzling relationship between crime and the economy. Citylab. Retrieved from http://www.citylab.com/work/2013/09/puzzling-relationship-between-crime-and-economy/6982/

 

Schawbel, D. (2013, September 7). Suceess is determined by your ability to sell yourself. Danschawbel.com. Retrieved from http://danschawbel.com/blog/success-is-determined-by-your-ability-to-sell-yourself/

 

Smets, M. (2008, March 12). Reputation and performance in large law firms (working paper No. B47ET). Retrieved http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/faculty-research/professional-service-firms/research-engagement/working-papers-0/reputation-and-performance-large-law-firms

 

Susskind, R. (2013). Tomorrow’s lawyers: an introduction to your future. Oxford university press.

 

Tamblyn, T. (2015, September 30). 1 – 2 million Volkswagen cars in the UK affected by emissions scandal says company. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/30/1-2-million-volkswagen-cars-in-the-uk-affected-by-emissions-scandal-says-company_n_8219310.html

 

Travis, A. (2013, January 24). Fall in UK crime rate baffles experts. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/24/fall-uk-crime-rate-baffles-experts

 

Waughray, A. (2009). Caste discrimination: A Twenty-First Century Challenge for UK Discrimination Law?. The Modern Law Review 72.2. (November), 182-219.

 

Wilkins, C. (2014). Man steals his lawyer’s phone during court session. Retrieved from http://bestmobs.com/man-steals-his-lawyers-phone-during-court-session-now-faces-another-charge/

 

Zacharais, F. (2008). Effects of Reputation on the Legal Profession. Retrieved from http://law2.wlu.edu/deptimages/Law%20Review/65-1Zacharias.pdf

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Entry 10 – my journey

Before the start of this course, I had naively neglected the commercial aspect of the law and my focus was on the theoretical and academic side. The importance of possessing a good level of commercial awareness has been stressed in my interviews for training contracts and thus the timing of this course at a similar time to these interviews has been extremely helpful. First and foremost law firms recruit graduates with a commercial outlook and the last ten weeks has given me such an outlook. I realised that as a rugby player I am constantly keeping up to date with the rugby world and analysing the teams and leagues that my team and I play in to optimize the likelihood of success, and the same goes for business, in order to be successful I need to be completely aware of the commercial environment I’m trying to become a part of. Consequently I will endeavour to continue to develop this side to me, for example, I regularly read the Financial Times and The Economist to keep up to date with current topics.

blog post 10

(Deloitte, 2015)

Entry 9 – the impact of social media on reputation

Law firms are no longer just a location to obtain legal advice but are now, as a result of increased competition and higher client expectations, essentially businesses. “As any business person knows, the reputation of a business is invaluable” (Pridmore. V, 2015), thus, reputation is extremely important, as it “is an important source of competitive advantage for leading firms” (M. Smets, 2015). The importance of the reputation of a law firm is manifested in the selection criteria for the ‘Financial Times Top 10’, which judges a firms success on its reputation as well as its financial performance. Furthermore, aspiring solicitors like myself are driven to work at the top firms, which, due to their strong reputation, possess a high profile clientele. Consequently, these firms are in a position to select the best graduates and lawyers that will improve their overall performance.

The importance of a firm’s reputation means that the actions of employees are heavily scrutinized. Disciplinary and other procedures exist to ensure that employees respect this and act accordingly. The rise of social media in recent times has posed a significant challenge to the preservation of reputation as defamatory material that was never intended for the world to see are now publishable. Furthermore, employees of a firm have high levels of exposure through social media and it must therefore be used appropriately. Over the last few weeks I have been interviewed at several firms for a training contract and as a result of my business studies I was aware of the research that employers do on employees prior to interview through social media. As a young man with limited experience in the professional world, my social media pages were not as professional as they could be and as a result I edited them in a way that would be more appealing to a potential employer. In my opinion, social media and the development of technology in general has eroded the personal/work divide that once existed and it is integral to possessing a good reputation that I exercise personal accountability and control in all aspects of my life, rather than just the professional aspect.

Entry 8 – equal opportunities for all?

One of human resource management’s core activities is the prevention of discrimination through equal opportunity. “UK discrimination law has developed in an ad-hoc fashion since the Race Relations Act 1965… but there is still no recognition of caste in UK law” (W. Annapurna, 2009,p.199) despite many statutes governing this area. In 2013, 89% of training contracts in the UK were given to Russell group graduates and out of the Russell group universities only 19% were deemed to have come from less advantaged social backgrounds. This shows the dominance that privately educated, Russell group graduates have in the legal profession. When considering the extent of such dominance as exhibited by the figures above, it is hard to determine why UK law doesn’t recognise caste as a form of discrimination. It reinforces the belief that “for some, the gateways to opportunity appear permanently closed… whilst others seem to have been issued with an access all areas path at birth” (C. Baksi, 2012).

I was educated at an underachieving state school until the age of 16, at which point I moved to a private school. The majority of my peers from my first school wouldn’t have dreamt of attending a Russell group university. In stark contrast, my second school would see a minimum of 10% of the each year attending Oxbridge. It is a major flaw in our educational system that two children of similar abilities can receive such different educations. The crux of the issue is that if a job requires a certain level of education, for example a 2:1 at a good university, then one child that is fortunate in their education will achieve this more easily than the other. Thus, there is not equal opportunity for high-level jobs at all and the issue of discrimination remains prevalent in our society.

blog 8

Burwin Leighton Paisner LLP advertisement from their website

(BLP, 2014)

Entry 7 – surrounded by sales

It has become apparent to me that being able to sell yourself is integral to success in the commercial world. Dan Schawbel goes to the extent that all your “success is determined by your ability to sell yourself” (D. Schawbel, 2014) because we are always selling. If you want a promotion you must sell to your manager that you have earned it, or even in your personal life, you have to persuade your friend to go to the cinema with you by selling the film. I have been subjected to sales people throughout my life so far and it wasn’t until I gave the subject of sales and marketing sufficient thought that I realised just how extensive that exposure was. For example, Exeter University managed to sell their product to me extremely well and it led to me enrolling on their LLB Law course. It wasn’t until this week’s lecture and the reading I did as a result that I understood the importance of being able to sell my abilities.

As a solicitor you must be able to sell your ability to resolve issues quickly and accurately in order to receive business and attract clients. However, before I can enter the legal profession I must sell myself effectively in my applications in the hope of getting a training contract. This is something that I believe a lot of law student’s neglect and in my experience the majority naively believe that hard work is all they need to succeed in this field. There are “many law graduates who might have first class honors degrees but have focused only on law for the last five years” (M. Hynes, 2015) and thus are unable to market themselves to law firms looking for a commercially sound individual.

Entry 6 – exposing the reality behind crime

I was lucky enough to spend reading week in New York City and during this time I visited Wall Street, which led me to think about economic stability and the fluctuation of economies. Economic stability is a desirable state for a developed country that is often encouraged by the policies and actions of its central bank. It is largely presumed that in times of economic hardship crime rates increase and criminologists argue that tough economic times make people more willing to commit crimes. “Bad economies lead to more property crimes and robberies as criminals steal coveted items they cannot afford.” (J. Roman, 2013). However, the 8% fall in crime in 2012 forced “academic experts to rewrite their basic ‘Criminology 101’ lecture and the theory that recession leads to rising crime, particularly property crime” (A. Travis, 2013). Economists argue that the reason for this is in better economic times “more people are out and about flashing their new shiny smartphones and more new cars sit unattended in parking lots” (J. Roman, 2013) and thus there is a higher incentive to partake in crime. Having attended a private school in Croydon I have witnessed first hand young pupils being targeted and mugged on their way home, mostly for their phones and other similar devices. In my experience the victims were walking around with their smartphones and devices on display, and the perpetrator took this opportunity to carry out the mugging. Admittedly my experience with regards to this area is extremely limited, but from my own experience I would tend to agree with the economists and argue that better economic times mean that expensive items are flashed around and therefore thieves have a better chance to do commit their crimes. With the increase in financial support from the state in recent decades the motivation to commit crime is less likely to be survival even in times of economic hardship. Instead, perpetrators see expensive items and want to take them for their own use. This reflects how the motivation behind crime has changed.

blog 6

(Wilkins, 2014)

Entry 5 – challenging tradition

Last week I briefly mentioned the topic of gender diversity within the legal profession, but my studies this week made me question why there are far fewer female partners in law firms than male when women entering the workforce possess the same levels of intelligence, education and commitment as men in a similar position.

The association of women with nature, the body and irrationality is deeply embedded in western beliefs. This stands in sharp contrast to the development of the appropriate degree of detachment, sense of justice, analytical skills and rationality required to be a successful lawyer. Consequently, “the legal profession is founded upon masculine values and therefore women are still regarded as outsiders” (R. Hunter, 2011, p5), and will struggle to progress to the top. As a result, “women have resorted to ‘de-sexing strategies’ in an attempt to suppress their femininity and to try and pass as male in order to achieve professional acceptance and advancement” (R. Hunter, 2011, p7). My reading has revealed that despite masses of women entering the legal profession, with 61.5% of training contracts in 2013 being awarded to women, the profession is founded upon masculine associations and values. Liberal feminists are mostly concerned with formal equality, for example the suffragettes campaigning for the vote, and would therefore be satisfied with the increased number of women in the legal profession. However, to achieve true equality it would require a change in society that would not see females automatically associated with values that contradict what makes a good lawyer. Cultural feminism takes this approach and believes that society should adapt for women, rather than women adapt for society. Such a change could lead to an increased number of women holding the position of partner in a law firm.

 

Entry 4 – an evolving profession

The use of technology in the world today is growing exponentially, and as a result, as Professor Richard Susskind (2013) argues in ‘tomorrows lawyers’, “the legal market is in an unprecedented state of flux. Over the next two decades the way in which lawyers work will change radically” (p.7). The legal profession is known for being traditional and even late to adapt to modern society. For example, in recent decades more women have entered the workforce, however, Hunter (2011) argues that “despite the increasing number of women working in the legal profession, they were still regarded as outsiders and legal practice was still male dominated” (p.9). As a result, women have resorted to “de-sexing strategies” (Hunter, 2011, p.4) in an attempt to suppress their femininity and to try and pass as male in order to achieve professional acceptance and advancement.

I am also going through change as graduation is fast approaching and the pressure to land a job is building. In my applications to law firms I have recognised the changing legal market and adapted them accordingly. Ashurst LLP, a successful international law firm, asked me about the challenges the firm faces in modern society. I used this opportunity to employ appreciative enquiry by saying the evolution of the legal market is not a challenge but an opportunity to succeed, as the quickest firms to evolve alongside the legal market will be extremely successful. Innovation is therefore something that I believe law firms will find attractive and I have tried to emphasise my ability to innovate accordingly. One example I used was the fundraising effort for my London marathon run in 2016, whereby I used alternative ways of getting around basic fundraising methods such as social media, which would be less successful amongst students, by setting up coffee mornings and auctions.

Entry 3 – the world as one

Globalisation is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange. Consequently, companies are able to recruit on a much larger scale and can attract the best workers from around the world. London, as my hometown, is my past and is most likely also my future. The population of London is growing rapidly and there is a spike in the number of young professionals who enter London looking for work (see table). Furthermore, the number of migrants entering London increased by 50% in inner London and by 96% in outer London between 1995 and 2013. These statistics show the effect of globalisation is highly skilled, highly educated workforce making landing a high level job extremely competitive.

population of londonTable 1 (London Mapper, 2014)

Whilst training as a solicitor, a trainee will take four six-month seats in various sectors of the firm and are encouraged to spend at least two seats abroad. In the summer I spent several weeks at Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, a successful international firm, under the guidance of a senior partner. He taught me that being a successful solicitor is about being able to sell yourself and attract business, as ultimately people employ you to resolve their issues. Globalisation has resulted in larger markets for companies to sell to, and the same goes for law firms. Globalisation has also increased the need for business people to be able to speak more than one language. This makes graduates who are competent in more than one language very attractive to companies. A major flaw of mine is that I have never committed to learning another language and it is not until now that I have truly understood its importance. Consequently, I have begun taking advantage of my French extended family and will be spending time with them in Paris over Christmas.

Entry 2 – the relationship between competition and strategy

In modern society competition is fierce. The regulation of competition through competition law sees the fusion of economics and law. In essence, competition law regulates the market in an interventionist manner by spotting anti competitive agreements or concerted practices and removing them. Therefore, its application requires economic competence as well as understanding of the law. In the UK the level of competition is continuing to grow. It is in the interest of the consumer that competition is high and my studies of competition law have revealed that it is heavily policed to maintain high levels of competition. As a consequence of the high levels of competition, it is essential for companies to have a good strategy to have the best chance of being successful in a highly competitive market.

Thomas Lee and Toby Cosgrove argue that ‘despite wondrous advances in medicine and technology, health care regularly fails at the fundamental job of any business: to reliably deliver what its customers need’. A hospital based in Wisconsin, called Bellin Health Systems was facing intense competition in the early 2000’s and decided to design a cancer centre to meet all of their patients and families needs. The cancer centre, which opened in 2008, surpassed its 5 year growth and revenue targets in 2 years, and had almost 100% patient satisfaction. This remarkable turnaround was almost entirely down to a strategy which reduced time between diagnosis and treatment, as the time between left patients feeling helpless. I am able to relate to how the families felt during the time between diagnosis and treatment, and can therefore understand why it was so successful. The strategy employed by Bellin, when looked at from solely a business perspective, was incredibly well constructed as it gave the patients (who are also their paying customers!) what they wanted.

blog 2

(Baker, 2013)