Name: Alice Conway
Firm: Osborne Clarke
Trained at: Jones Day
Year qualified: 2007
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Walking into an internal team meeting on a corporate deal at 11pm having started my day at 9am to be greeted with our “To Do” list for the day by the lead partner! The firm where I trained has an unusual non-rotational training system. This means you can work in multiple practice areas at the same time.
I really loved the depth of experience and responsibility it gave me at an early stage in my career. But some days the juggle was a challenge!
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
My old headmaster gave me a quiet and (in hindsight) fairly gentle(!) dressing down for my reaction to just missing out in the vote for a school council position. He introduced me to the concept of hubris and taught me an important lesson in humility that I’ve never forgotten.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
I can’t narrow it down to one! Someone recently said, in the context of a discussion about female progression, that it is important to have role models but you don’t need to find one person who embodies all the qualities you aspire to – you can use a variety of role models to shape the person you seek to become. I think that is so true.
I was very lucky to work with some superb lawyers who gave me a great platform from which to grow my career. In recent years I have been influenced hugely by various partners at Osborne Clarke – the firm has a forward looking, entrepreneurial spirit and has given me so much support to grow my own practice – it has been a great personality fit for me!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Fundamentally my job is about relationships: with my team and my clients, but also my opposite number on a transaction. I have always tried to be someone that people are happy to work with, and I’ve found that this has built a lot of long-lasting bridges and relationships which have definitely been a big contributor to my career to date.
I am still very much on a learning curve as a junior partner, and increasingly, deep market knowledge and strategic thinking are key skills I constantly need to develop. But ultimately, trying to do a good job and being nice to people are the bedrock of my approach and the advice I pass on to the juniors in my team.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
Well two of them are married and remain two of my best friends! One is a very successful partner in the City, and the other has a brilliant mind and has eschewed law to study and then work in occupational psychology, trying to help dysfunctional professional services firms, including law firms, become a little less dysfunctional!
I hugely admire both of their career paths and regularly use them as a sounding board for mine!