Charlotte Dobson

University of Liverpool, Law (LLB)

Current rotation: Legal Project Management

How did you decide that a legal ops role was for you?

As a law student, I originally planned to go down the traditional training contract route.  I was aware of Slaughter and May’s reputable position in the market and I knew that working for such a firm would be an amazing and unlikely opportunity.  After seeing the Legal Operations role advertised I realised that there was a different realm of work in the legal industry for graduates aside from becoming a solicitor.  I thought that working in business services would allow for more creativity and a broader range of work. Equally, as the legal industry is becoming less traditional, I thought that the prospect of working in a rapidly evolving space would be interesting.

Can you talk through your day? Which group are you in? What does the group do?

I am currently sat in the Legal Project Management (LPM) team.  The group work on applying elements of project management into legal matters to assist with scope, planning, costs, etc.  As such, a lot of the work is client-facing and involves reporting on client matters and attending internal meetings.

The type of work that I undertake varies greatly throughout the week. A typical day involves arriving into the office at around 9am to get set up for the day.  I will spend the first few minutes of the day catching up on emails and setting out my agenda for the day.   In the morning, I will usually have a catch up with my supervisor to discuss what my capacity is, along with flagging any queries. I prioritise client facing work in the morning to make sure that all regular reports/tasks are sent out to the relevant persons.

At lunch, I will catch up with other graduates/team members and go for a short walk to reset before heading up for the afternoon.  There will be various meetings to attend throughout the day, such as check-ins, internal matter calls, etc.  Once my regular reporting/tasks are complete, I tend to move on to working on internal projects. I also get involved with responsible business initiatives during the working day such as GCSE tutoring. 

Towards the end of the day I’ll make sure that everything is wrapped up before heading home.  I find it useful to write down anything that I need to carry over to the next day, so that I can manage my capacity better.

What part of the job gives you the biggest buzz?

The fast-paced nature of the work at Slaughter and May gives me the biggest buzz.  In every team, you will have multiple projects to work on simultaneously. This keeps the nature of the work really varied, and also means that you’re constantly learning new skills, along with learning more about the industry generally. Having such a variety of projects also means that you will liaise with multiple people around the firm, and also with clients.  This helps to build your network and enhance your communication skills. The fast-pace of projects also means that you are able to see projects through from start to finish, which feels really rewarding.

What advice would you give to students looking to join us?

It’s important through the application process and beyond to simply be yourself.  It’s completely normal to be nervous but it’s important to remember that everyone is excited to get to know you and welcome you into the team. 

I think it’s definitely important to make conversation with everyone that you come across in the firm.  It’s good to start building relationships from day one as it definitely helps down the line to have a good network.  This also helps to build your confidence as you will start to see familiar faces and settle in easier.  Equally, having a network across the firm makes it easier to reach out when completing projects.