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More than "just a lawyer"

Published on
Written by
Caroline Bush, Associate Director UK
"One thing that really struck me is that you are much more than “just a lawyer”
Caroline Bush

Why did you want to pursue a career in law?

I had considered becoming a solicitor while studying for my French degree but was put off after doing a vacation scheme with one of the Magic Circle firms and decided that law in London was not for me. After a few years I reconsidered and decided that a career in law might be worth pursuing after all, but this time as I was based in Bath I concentrated on firms in the South West.

Why Osborne Clarke?

I applied to a number of firms which seemed the most aligned to what I was after, namely a full service firm which would offer good quality work but also had a real people focus. Top of that list was Osborne Clarke. I had already committed to doing the GDL so when I was offered a training contract at Osborne Clarke I was genuinely delighted. I came back to the idea of a career in law because of the intellectual challenge I thought it would present and can honestly say it has not disappointed. From my first experience of Osborne Clarke, when I attended the assessment centre, through to now as a six-year qualified lawyer, the challenges keep on coming. But the other thing I have experienced throughout that time is the amazing support of everyone at the firm. The culture really is as friendly and welcoming as it is reputed to be which is so important when working in an industry which can be very pressured and demanding.

How has your training contract at Osborne Clarke aided your career as a lawyer?

I started my training contract in September 2012, not really knowing what to expect. Although the GDL and LPC give a really good grounding, it feels quite different when you’re working with real clients. But right from the start it was clear that being a trainee at Osborne Clarke you are expected to get fully stuck in – you are a valued member of the team – while also having lots of people to turn to when you have no real idea of what you are doing! One thing that really struck me is that you are much more than “just a lawyer” – you really are a commercial advisor who has a legal focus.

What drew you to qualify into environmental law?

I have always had a passion for the environment but went into the training contract with an open mind, keen to gain as much experience as I could in all sorts of different practice areas. Fortunately I was able to qualify into the team which included the environmental lawyers and have now specialised in that area. For me it is really important to do something I feel strongly about so I really do feel I have the best of both worlds. It’s challenging and constantly changing, but that is one of the things I love about it. It does mean there really is no such thing as a typical day!

What else have you been involved in?

One of my personal highlights to date has been my involvement in the Sustainable Business Group, made up of people from all over the firm and always open to new members. We discuss matters big and small, from introducing loose leaf tea to the UK firm’s carbon footprint and everything in between. I have been struck by how seriously the sustainability agenda is taken at Osborne Clarke – there's real buy-in at every level of the firm from trainees to the executive board which makes the additional time I spend working on sustainable initiatives completely worth it. At the moment I am working hard on ensuring sustainability is at the heart of our new office, which is a really exciting project to be involved with.

What is the one piece of advice you'd give to anyone who is considering applying to Osborne Clarke?

Be honest and open. Everyone I’ve ever worked with at Osborne Clarke would much prefer to know if you don’t understand a task, or feel overworked, or have an evening commitment you’d really like to get to. Sometimes the partners may seem scary, but they’re really not (most of the time anyway!).

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