Welcome to our latest ‘what I know now’ feature, where we pick the brains of some of the region’s top solicitors.
Nick Dyson is a partner at Blacks Solicitors LLP. He trained at Eversheds in Leeds and qualified in 2001. His first move from there was to Blacks in 2003, where he has been involved in trainee development and work experience programmes. Here he shares some of his career experiences, highlights and advice for newly qualified solicitors.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TRAIN AS A SOLICITOR?
I wasn’t sure what to do and law seemed to cover lots of things which seemed interesting. The idea of an international law firm appealed as I had a French degree so I thought I could use French with law somehow.
HOW WELL DID YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A TRAINEE PREPARE YOU FOR BECOMING QUALIFIED?
Very well. I was lucky to have a comprehensive training programme with technical and soft skills opportunities.
DESCRIBE YOUR TRAINING PARTNER IN 3 WORDS.
I can’t remember who it was! I can remember the HR contact, though, who was approachable supportive and understanding.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE FOR YOU WHEN YOU WERE ADMITTED AND TOOK A FULL SOLICITOR ROLE?
The perception from outside that clients and others assumed I knew what I was doing. The title provided kudos and a sense of responsibility.
WHAT WERE THE FACTORS BEHIND YOU CHOOSING THE AREA OF LAW THAT YOU SPECIALISE IN?
I changed to property law after two years. The factors behind the change included work life balance, the type of clients I could work with and the ability to develop relationships with clients
COMPARED TO YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, HOW SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT DO YOU PERCEIVE THE CHALLENGES TO BE FACING NQS IN 2019?
I think there’s much greater competition now, and an increased expectation for NQs to get involved in business development and other soft skills. However, there’s also greater awareness and support. I think the role has become harder with increased regulation, which can stifle innovation and creativity.
WHAT PIECE OF PRACTICAL ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS AT THE START OF THEIR LEGAL CAREER?
Work with people and in an area of law you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to take risks and if in the first couple of years it isn’t right, you can always change. You can set your own destiny if you have sufficient desire.
WITH HINDSIGHT WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU HAS KNOWN WHEN YOU WERE NEWLY QUALIFIED?
What competition law was really like. Two or three months as trainee in area wasn’t enough time.
IF YOU WERE TO RECRUIT A LAWYER AT NQ LEVEL TO WORK CLOSELY WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’D LOOK FOR?
Dedication, passion, personality, ability to work with others and empathy with clients and colleagues.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD IN AN INTERVIEW, AND HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?
Someone shared that they like singing in their free time and broke into song. I ended up joining in.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST INTERVIEW TIP?
Be honest. It’s a two way process.
TO DATE WHAT IS YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT?
Creating a holiday parks team from scratch and becoming a leading niche practice in the country within five years.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE LEGAL PROFESSION?
Less regulation. More trust.
BESIDES BEING A LAWYER, IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT AND YOU KNEW YOU COULDN’T FAIL, WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO TRY OR DO?
I’d like to try being professional pianist.
SUMMARISE YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LEGAL RECRUITERS IN FIVE WORDS OR LESS.
Lots aggressive, some great!
Thanks for your time, Nick!