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The Brief

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Ruth Lawrence, head of Hill Dickinson’s insurance team shares some practical career tips for those who have entered into a career in law…

Specialise in areas in which you are passionate
We all perform at our best when we enjoy what we do.  Furthermore, when one considers the number of hours we invest in fee earning it is important that the majority of this time is intellectually stimulating and fulfilling.

Learn from each and every case

View each file as both an opportunity to apply your existing knowledge and to further expand your expertise.   Challenge yourself to exceed your client’s expectations.  There is no such thing as a dull case.

Network, network, network
The importance of good relationships both internally and externally remains crucial to success.  The most technically proficient, commercially aware lawyer in the world only succeeds when the right people know they exist and what they do.

Stand your ground – people with louder voices don’t always know it all
Perhaps particularly important for women in business who may find some male (and indeed female) colleagues are more than content to confidently espouse their views even when they know rather less than you do.

Keep calm and count to 10, every minute counts 
Never underestimate the impact of what you say or how you say it.  However tempting to scream out exactly what you think, especially when under pressure, take a deep breath and think things through.  Then if it is time to still say what you first thought then go right ahead!

Understand your own values and act upon them
Consider your own brand – what do you stand for?  Do your words, deeds and actions measure up to your brand values as well as those of the firm?  Are you own values in alignment with those of your firm?

Expect the unexpected and deal with it
It is said that skilled chess players plan multiple possibilities for up to 15 moves ahead (and full games for chess masters).  Planning is crucial to success for both individual cases and your career.  However, the unexpected will still happen, accept such change and deal with it.  Be adaptable and accept your career pattern may well change too.   Think ahead to the future direction of the legal environment and consider options for both your clients and you.

Aim high and deliver
Continue to challenge yourself, be prepared to work hard and get stuck in.  High personal expectations and determination go a long way to achieving success.

Take care of yourself as well as your case load
All work and no play makes for burned out lawyers – pay attention to your own health and sanity too!

About Ruth…
Ruth Lawrence heads Hill Dickinson’s insurance team which continues to grow under her leadership and now numbers in excess of 500 people. Ruth is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s insurance practice both at operational and strategic levels across all offices.   The expertise within her team spans a diverse range of work, including professional indemnity, motor, casualty, D&O, financial institutions and cyber–liability to name but a few.


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