13 February 2013
Attending glitzy film premieres, firm-wide space-hopper races and working for some of the biggest names in the media sector are just some of the reasons Wiggin trainee Sunniva Hansson loves her job
Firm: Wiggin LLP
Position: Trainee Solicitor
Universities: University of Essex
GDL or LPC: College of Law
Hobbies: Gorging on box sets of US drama (anything from the West Wing to Revenge), running, yoga
Department: Media Corporate Group
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? The parties, the cars, the girls.
Why did you choose your firm? Wiggin is the best media and technology law firm in the country and I was interested in media and technology law.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far? Probably my two client secondments – one to Warner Bros. (attending glitzy premieres as part of my job was pretty great) and one to Perform Group (a really exciting digital sports rights business) – both which gave me a practical insight into our clients’ businesses and the experience I gained is absolutely invaluable in my day-to-day work at Wiggin. As a baby lawyer (and apologies for a bastardisation of Atticus Finch here), you won’t really know a client’s business, sector and commercial objectives until you have stood in their shoes and walked around in them. Wiggin frequently sends trainees and junior lawyers on secondments, for instance, another trainee is just starting at Manchester United.
What does your typical day involve? I bet everyone says there’s no typical day – and there really isn’t! As a trainee in Wiggin’s corporate department, it can be anything from drafting board minutes to assisting at a signing meeting to researching a tax law point. One of the highlights so far was assisting on the sale of the TV production company Firecracker (of “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings” fame). I was responsible for drafting and negotiating the disclosure letter (under supervision!), which required me to really understand the deal and to interact with the client and the other side on a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis. Although most of the time you’ll find the corporate team busy working on various deals changing the media landscape, we do make time for socialising, too. For instance, we go for team drinks to the rather nice local pubs, there’s the occasional karaoke night and, at the beginning of my seat, the whole department went for an away day to a gorgeous inn in Wales.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by your department? Working for some of the biggest names in the sector, the media corporate group at Wiggin handles various media and technology related deals, typically ranging from £1m to £200m, including the sale of TV production companies (for instance, we represented Left Bank Pictures when it was bought by Sony) and raising finance for SMEs (including for Achica, the luxury goods e-retailer).
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Like most lawyers, I like that it’s varied, I’m constantly learning new things and rarely have time to get bored. Working in the media, tech and sports sectors is particularly interesting at the moment as they are evolving at the speed of light and you’re constantly faced with legal and commercial situations that have not come up before, whether it is how to measure the deterioration of a satellite or blocking access to pirate websites.
What are the worst aspects of your job? Wiggin has an office in Cheltenham and one in London and sometimes travel between the two can be a bit tiring. On the other hand, most people tend to agree that one of the best things about working at Wiggin is the combination of London life and London quality of work with the country pubs of the Cotswolds and a ten-minute walk into work.
What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession? I can’t for the life of me figure out why people think lawyers are boring – at Wiggin we regularly organise firm-wide space-hopper races and during the London Olympics we arranged our own Wiglympics in aid of charity.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? Know why you want to do it – if you’re just doing it for the money, become a banker, it’s easier.
What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? The cars, the parties, the girls.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? The competition for interviews for training contracts was fierce!
How is law in practice different from studying law? It’s less about finding the perfect legal answer and more about arriving at the best possible commercial solution.
What are the common attributes of successful candidates? It’s probably similar across all law firms (good academics, hard-working, and so on), but I think what sets Wiggin trainees apart is that you have to be prepared to stand on your own feet from the start, whether it is drafting a memo or meeting a client. In my first week I was given a spreadsheet containing a client’s outstanding retransmission fees and asked to draft a letter before claim based on that. Scary, but fun!