Helen Poulson


  • Degree: Biochemistry, Imperial College London
  • Joined: Feb 2016
  • Practice Area: Intellectual Property Technology and Media
  • Office: London
  • Favourite film: 8 femmes

Helen Poulson's journey

For me, what sets Hogan Lovells apart is the people. When the pressure’s on there’s a real sense of the team pulling together. My intake is a diverse group of people, around half are from a non-law background. Everyone takes pride in their work, but without losing their sense of fun. There is a real commitment to pro-bono and citizenship work, which is evident across the entire firm. 

I’ve had a varied seat plan through which I’ve experienced first-hand how different practice areas have different ways of working. International Arbitration was very collaborative day-to-day,  it was common for lawyers working on the same matter to pop in and out of each other's offices to discuss strategic legal and/or procedural points. In Pensions, lawyers would work on a more individual basis. However, the department frequently came together as a whole to discuss recent developments in the field.

Before I joined Hogan Lovells, the law was more of an academic concept to me. Now I see it as a toolkit that we use to fix our clients’ problems and to facilitate their businesses. This is particularly true given that I’ve spent the last six months on secondment to BNP Paribas working in its equity derivatives in-house legal team.

Going on secondment has brought home to me that a good lawyer, as far as possible, immerses themself in their  client’s business. Each business has its own operations, goals and challenges, and it’s our job as lawyers to understand them and to pre-empt legal roadblocks and opportunities coming down the line accordingly. There's no point giving advice if that advice is incompatible on a practical level with the way the business operates. I would recommend a client secondment to anyone given the opportunity. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways within the training contract framework to challenge yourself and to broaden your horizons.

I learned quite a bit about business on my induction. All trainees take part in the Hogan Lovells BaSE programme, which teaches you about business basics and what’s behind client decision-making. We were split into small teams and each team was given a client to advise over six months. I gained invaluable experience of managing the client relationship and the overall matter. 

All of my supervisors have been supportive. It's inevitable that the experienced people you work with are going to have a big impact on your career which is why (in my opinion) Hogan Lovells is the best place to train!