18 October 2012
ITV legal trainee Karthi Perumal says that working in-house is a fantastic place to learn new skills in a short space of time.
Name: Karthi Perumal
Company: ITV Plc
Position: Legal & Business Affairs Executive
Degree: Television Production Design BA (Hons)
Universities: Nottingham Trent University
GDL or LPC: GDL at Brunel University and LPC at the College of Law
Hobbies: Pilates, yoga, zumba, painting and figure drawing
Department/field: Legal & Business Affairs, ITV Network
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? I have always been interested in the law and media and wanted to pursue a career that was intellectually stimulating and rewarding.
Why did you choose to train in-house? I wanted to work as a commercial lawyer in an exciting and fast-paced media environment: ITV strikes that balance perfectly. ITV also offers a fantastic training programme, where two six-month seats (contentious and non-contentious) are offered in two of its panel law firms. I spent six months in DLA Piper’s corporate department and am currently on secondment to Olswang in its commercial litigation department, gaining some invaluable experience.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far? Managing to negotiate and execute standard terms and conditions for acquired programme licences with a major US studio.
What does your typical day involve? Drafting programme licence agreements; negotiating rights acquisitions; and advising various internal departments such as, Channels, Scheduling, Marketing and Finance on all related comments and queries.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the legal department at ITV? The ITV Channels Legal and Business Affairs department negotiates and drafts deal terms across all ITV Channels from UK based producers to US studios in order to obtain maximum rights exploitation on all platforms for commissioned and acquired programming. We advise on rights acquisitions, commissioning, sponsorship, compliance, co-production, finance, licensing, distribution, merchandising and intellectual property issues.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Going to see a live performance or a recording of a programme you’ve worked on and knowing you’ve played a part in getting it there. Plus, bumping into the odd celebrity, whilst getting your morning cup of coffee in the canteen, isn’t too bad either.
What are the worst aspects of your job? Negotiating can sometimes be a very long and drawn out process: patience and persistence are both key requisites!
What do you believe is the biggest misconception of training in-house? That because in-house lawyers do not have third party clients, there is a relaxed attitude to work and there are minimal work pressures. It is true that there is a more relaxed atmosphere in-house but that doesn’t in any way extend to the work! You are often given a huge amount of responsibility and independence at a very early stage, which naturally comes with its own pressures and challenges, but it is a fantastic place to learn new skills in a short space of time and broaden your commercial awareness.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in-house? Choose wisely where you want to train and give it some proper thought. If you are uncertain about the type of law you want to practice in, take some time out and gain experience in various companies and industries first; the last thing you want is to be pigeon-holed in an area of law you have no interest in.
What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? Do not be misguided that you will necessarily be enjoying a career as a trainee solicitor relatively soon after completing the LPC. Obtaining a training contract is not easy. So, before spending thousands of pounds on a legal education try to get as much relevant work experience as possible, build up your contacts and your CV.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? Competition: many law graduates but not nearly enough training contracts.
What are the common attributes of successful candidates? Good people skills: if you are able to communicate well and build positive working relationships with other people, you are more likely to get the most out of your job and actually enjoy it! Commercial awareness, good organisational skills and attention to detail are very important. Last but not least, passion for law and lots of it!