Shaun Cook’s Journey
I left university in the summer of 2012 and started working in London in a variety of jobs including working for the NHS and in recruitment for (of all things) the legal sector. I really enjoyed the work and learned many skills that have stood me in good stead since I started at the firm, from simple things like how to work in an office environment to more important skills like client management and hitting deadlines. I knew these weren't permanent jobs but the opportunity to experience other areas of work was good preparation before starting my career at Hogan Lovells.
I did the Winter Vacation Scheme in 2012. For someone like me – being new to London and a non-law background – it was a great opportunity to come into the firm and get an insight into what a city lawyer does and the types of work that Hogan Lovells offers.
During my training contract I had the chance to do seats in finance, real estate and litigation before finishing with a secondment to our Washington DC office. Being able to experience all these different fields and getting to go abroad has given me a broad understanding of the law and the different practice areas Hogan Lovells offers. Since qualifying I’ve been working on building up a depth of knowledge and experience in my practice area specifically.
When you're starting out with the firm, I think it's important to say yes as many opportunities as you can, not just different types of work for different partners and associates in your team, but being involved in things like pro bono projects and sports teams too. The latter is really important, because there's more to being a good lawyer than just the law, and the various "extra-curricular" activities the firm offers help develop skills you need in these other areas. Taking a variety of work gives you the best chance of finding out what you're really passionate about, before you qualify and begin to specialise.
My focus for the next few years is to become as strong a technical lawyer as I can be, whilst also improving my client relationship and business development skills. That's something the firm emphasises early, even during your training contract, This continues throughout your time as an associate with training sessions and development programmes, all designed to help you become a more rounded and successful lawyer.