Nicola Bridge, partner in the Litigation & Dispute Team at SJ Berwin....
What is your role?
I am a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team and I am also the Graduate Recruitment & Trainee Development partner at SJ Berwin.
Why did you become a solicitor?
The influence and combination of my brother and the TV series, LA Law.
Where is the best place to go if you want to find out what is really going on in the office?
Speak to the trainees or the Graduate Recruitment team – they seem to know all the gossip first.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety and challenges that different clients present.
What is the toughest thing about your job?
Always having to be available.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
A number of partners at the firm who I have worked with over the years – all of whom are impressive lawyers with great client skills and the ability to deal with a pressurised situation with a sense of humour!
What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?
All the fraud related cases I’ve dealt with have been interesting but certainly the dispute relating to a potential investment in a film about cage fighting opened my eyes to a sport I’d previously known nothing about!
What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?
The defence collapsing on day two of a fraud and negligence trial and consenting to judgment.
Where do you see your firm in five to 10 years? What are the biggest challenges you will face?
We’re the youngest of the large international law firms and we’ve always prided ourselves on our modern, creative and service-driven approach to everything we do. We were founded in 1982 with just five partners, and today we are an international firm with around 170 partners and 1,100 employees with a total of 12 offices across the world; in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We’re continuing to grow and our primary focus will always be on our clients – matching our knowledge, energy and creative thinking to the business needs of our customers.
Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
Aung San Suu Kyi.
What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?
A professional tennis player (ideally) but more realistically I’d be a writer.
What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?
Choose your firm carefully. Try and do a vacation scheme, if possible; it’s a fantastic opportunity to work out whether you really want to be a lawyer and to understand what’s involved as a practitioner. Candidates need to assess whether they’re going to get a good training at a particular firm and if they believe that the partners are interested in trainees and their development. It’s also a chance for candidates to see if they identify with the people working there and whether they think they’ll enjoy the culture of the firm.