Utilities

Jonathan Iyer - Associate

Associate, Employment and labour

You’re an associate now, but looking back on your training contract, what did it give you that other firms or careers might not?

A truly international network of brilliant colleagues. Our clients are from across the world and we frequently have to work with colleagues from international offices.

When I was a trainee solicitor, I went on secondment to the Sydney office and I now often receive queries from colleagues in that office when they need English law advice for their clients. It’s great to be able to put faces to names even though they’re on the other side of the world.

One particularly close friend I made in the Sydney office ended up qualifying as an associate in the employment team in our Montreal office. I’ve been working with some Canadian clients recently, so I have no doubt our paths will cross again – that’s just the kind of firm we are.

In your experience, is it a big leap to make from trainee to associate?

I’m the only junior associate in my department and there are five or six years of post-qualification experience between myself and the next most ‘junior’ associate. For me, that’s resulted in a lot of good work beyond my PQE level, but it also meant I had to adapt very quickly when I joined the department. On my first day I was given a director dispute file and in the last few months I’ve been involved with a number of investigations on behalf of clients. It’s been busy and a noticeable leap from being a trainee solicitor, but nothing is unmanageable and more senior lawyers are only too keen to help you.

As well as contributing from day to day, how do you get involved in the wider culture of the firm? Are you a part of any corporate responsibility initiatives or social groups?

I’m proud to have done some great pro bono work alongside my fee-earning work. For example, on one occasion towards the end of last year, I was volunteering at a law centre where I helped a tenant on the outskirts of London win a deposit back from a landlord.

In terms of social clubs, the firm’s badminton club is back with a vengeance this season and I’ve rediscovered my passion for this sport on Thursday nights. By coincidence, many of the badminton club are real estate lawyers and I would rarely come across people from that team in my day-to-day work, so it’s great in that respect too.

I also think the firm’s Pride and WiN (Women in Norton Rose Fulbright) networks have had an enormously positive impact across all levels within the firm and we all support them wherever we can.

If you had one piece of advice to give to someone considering a career in law, what would it be?

Whilst you are expected to know the law in your specific field by the time you are an associate, a large part of the job involves providing clients with risk analysis and helping clients to manage those risks. If you are drawn to this combination of legal and commercial advice, law is likely to be the right career for you.

You should also be realistic in terms of the expectations placed on you. A career at a global law firm such as Norton Rose Fulbright is unlikely to work for you if you are specifically seeking a 9 to 5 job. You do have to work hard often outside of normal working hours, but the international experience and professional networks you develop are worth it in the long term.

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