2 April 2012
Taylor Wessing graduate recruitment partner Tim Worden says he wished he had known that a legal career has much more to it than ’the law’; and that understanding clients’ businesses and the sectors in which they operate is imperative.
Name: Tim Worden
Firm: Taylor Wessing
University: Cambridge University
Degree subject: Natural Sciences (Chemistry)
Hobbies: (i) Cricket - playing (very occasionally and very badly), watching, and commentating for an MCC voluntary commentary team for the blind; (ii) 3 young children; (iii) travel (although not entirely compatible with (ii))
How long have you been a partner? 3 years
Who/what inspired you to be a lawyer? I was inspired to be an intellectual property lawyer by the opportunity it offers to combine my interest in science with the ability to work with a range of clients in technology-rich industries.
What things do you wish you knew before embarking on a legal career? Just how much more there is to it than “the law”. To be an excellent lawyer requires a broad range of skills, and technical knowledge of the law is a given. The best lawyers I know have an incredible understanding of their clients’ businesses and the sectors in which they operate; they communicate with complete clarity; and they inspire those around them to provide an excellent service to the firm’s clients.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job? Keeping all the balls in the air!
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Becoming a partner at Taylor Wessing.
What are the best aspects of your job? There are many great aspects to my job. It’s very rare for a day to pass without having to deal with a new challenge, and the combination of my practice and my management responsibilities certainly provides variety. I’m lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients, ranging from small, ambitious start-ups to large multi-nationals, but all with great ideas and interesting IP to exploit. Being one of the Graduate Recruitment partners is also a highlight: I get to talk about a firm that I’m passionate about, to meet a range of interesting undergrads, to phone students to tell them they’ve got a vac scheme, and to help shape the firm’s future.
What are the worst aspects of your job? Organising the trainee seat moves can be tricky as there are a range of interests and preferences to take into account. It requires determination, diplomacy and a slice of good fortune to resolve.
What tips would you give to students who want to break into the legal profession? Keep at it and invest the time in researching which firms to apply to. Not only will that mean you are more likely to pick a firm that works for you, it also means you are more likely to get a placement or training contract there.
What are the most common mistakes you’ve seen candidates making? Not being clear on why law is the career for them and why they want to join Taylor Wessing; regurgitating chunks of our website on the application form.
How has the legal market changed since the days you were a trainee? I think it’s an even more competitive market for trainees than it was when I was one: firms expect more from their applicants and test them more thoroughly. However, I think the prize of a training contract is now greater: firms are investing more than even in ensuring their trainees get the best experience and training, which means a training contract should provide an interesting, challenging and rewarding two years, and hopefully a role on qualification.
What impact has the recession had on your firm? Our broad range of practice areas and, in particular, our notable strengths in unaffected areas such as IP and private wealth meant that we emerged relatively unscathed. Our HR team did a great job too of avoiding the redundancies that some of our competitors suffered by introducing a holiday buy-back scheme – which, in fact, is still going by popular demand! We were one of only a few firms with a double digit revenue increase at the 2011/12 half year, so we’re on a strong trajectory.
What three words best describe your firm? Ambitious, creative and vibrant.
Where did you go for your last holiday? France – it’s not far and the food is fabulous.
What gadget/gizmo would you be lost without? My Blackberry - but not just because of email and the ability to check the cricket score. Twitter is an incredible tool for keeping an eye on news and discussion in the industries where most of my clients operate – life sciences and technology – and having the ability to keep updated via Twitter on my Blackberry in a spare 2 minutes when travelling is invaluable.