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October 5, 2021
Recognised as leaders in industries ranging from retail to insurance and technology to media, RPC is a modern and progressive firm where they take a genuine interest in their trainee’s professional and personal development. Jani Ihalainen is a second seat trainee at RPC,  and shares his experience on what life is like at the firm.

Why Did You Choose a Career in Law?

What drew me to a career in law was the fact that it’s a career where you will constantly be challenged and have to keep learning, even very deep into your career, as the law and the world it applies to is ever-changing. In addition, you have to think of issues not just in a legal vacuum, but also whether any potential legal answers are right commercially for that client in that moment in time, so you have to think beyond just the simple application of the law.

Why Did You Choose RPC?

What drew me to the firm was the fact that it is a modern and progressive one that wants to do things differently. I didn’t simply want to join a firm that is e.g. the most prestigious or pays the most, but one that reflects my own values and can offer me a place where I can grow both as a person and as a lawyer, while working with interesting issues and clients along the way.

Everyone at the firm is also incredibly nice and take a keen interest in your professional and personal development, and being a part of a smaller intake allows for you to really be seen and to take part in everything that the firm does depending on your interests.

Finally, the firm offers a wide array of different seats in a number of practice areas, which allows for you to really try your hand at areas of law that might interest you without pigeon holing you into only a select few (sub-)specialisms that some firms focus on.

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Tell Us About The Structure of Your Training Contract To Date

My first seat was in Commercial and Banking Litigation, in which I was involved in cases around various financial investments, but also some general contractual disputes outside the world of banking.

I’m currently in my second seat in Commercial, Technology and Outsourcing, which is one of the non-contentious seats that the firm offers. In the seat I’ve worked on a wide array of agreements, advisory and data protection matters in varying industries.

What’s the Best Thing About an RPC Training Contract and Why Should Future Trainees Consider RPC?

A training contract at RPC allows you to try your hand at a number of different practice areas so you get to experience many things you’d want to try out during your training, but to also give you broad experience in the law and legal issues which will help you to be a well-rounded NQ down the line. The firm also offers client secondments as seats, when available, and international secondments to the firm’s Asia offices in either Hong Kong or Singapore (COVID permitting, of course), which are things that many trainees look forward to in their training.

Also, as mentioned above, the firm and your supervisors in departments really take an interest in you, your interests (both within law and outside of work) and your development as a future lawyer. For me this has led to me being involved in several projects, such as in artificial intelligence, as partners remembered that I was interested in it and subsequently asked me if I wanted to take part. You genuinely feel a part of the firm and its fabric and not simply just one in a nameless cohort, and you can try to make any seat your own depending on what you want to do or where you want to end up.

What Were Your First Few Days as a Trainee Like?

The first few days are always a little nerve-wrecking, since the expectations you feel as a trainee can be quite overwhelming. I was in a little bit of a better position, as I had been a paralegal at the firm before starting as a trainee, so I knew how all of the systems worked and even many of the people in the firm, so starting was less intimidating. Also, the team I joined was super welcoming and immediately got me stuck in, which helped you focus on the work over any nerves!

My start to the training programme was also not exactly what I had expected as I started work remotely due to COVID. Working remotely wasn’t anything totally new, since we had done part of the LPC remotely and the PSC following our start, but having heard stories of life in the office as a trainee but then having to start in your apartment wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Even so, all of us trainees have adapted wonderfully and look forward to working with everyone in person once the pandemic settles down and everyone will be back in the office.

What Would You Like to Achieve During Your Career at RPC?

I would want to and have already taken steps towards getting the firm more involved in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, which is still something that most firms are not alive to fully. This is something I’m really passionate about and many partners are very keen to be more involved in the area in the future.

Where Do You See Yourself in the Future?

Since I’m only in my second seat it’s hard to think beyond the current seat or even qualification and further down the line, but I can see myself staying with the firm for the foreseeable future and to cultivate my career here. I’ve loved my time at RPC and cannot see myself working anywhere else, since the firm does feel like ‘home’. I feel the firm fits me, to who I am and what I want to do with my career and will undoubtedly provide me with fantastic opportunities down the line, provided I get to stay here at qualification.

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