Name: Victoria Gaskell
Firm: CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang
Trained at: Olswang
In Hot 100 for: Juggling her big media work with the process of integrating Olswang’s media offering into CMS and Nabarro. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Well I specifically remember a couple of tasks delegated by partners including “Can you order the pizzas please” and “Can you fill out my driving licence application for me” (!) but actually I had a great training contract. I spent a lot of my time working for the firm’s media clients (I trained at Olswang) including several months seconded to a company called Chorion that owned the rights to Noddy among other things. I got to work on TV and merchandising deals at a really early stage in my career, which was brilliant experience.
I tried to fit in as much as possible in my early years and to get as broad a foundation as possible across film, TV and digital which has served me really well since – although I do remember that meant being in the office at midnight quite a lot..
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
I am really fortunate to have trained in a top tier media team and each of the partners in the group taught me something different. Selina Potter is a fantastic technical lawyer, John Enser is great on strategic advice, Mark Devereux knows everyone and anyone and David Zeffman instilled in me a commitment to relentless business development (and also taught me how to use apostrophes properly).
I guess I am the product of all of those positive influences. I have also worked with a host of great associates over the years many of whom are now clients.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
The decision to apply for a summer placement at Olswang because that is how I got into the firm and how I ended up doing work for such great clients with a team that I love and respect. I really wanted to do media work and I definitely went to the right place.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Getting a training contract was competitive when I was applying but it is so much harder now. I don’t envy today’s graduates, but actually there is more flexibility out there around career paths. There are more opportunities to train in house and to work internationally. There are some great companies offering training contracts that give people real insight into the business and also offer the opportunity to spend some time in private practice at least for one seat. People move between in house roles and private practice a lot more at a senior level now as well.
The level of tech innovation in the legal sector also presents opportunities for different types of roles, such as project managers and senior paralegal positions. So I would encourage people to look outside the traditional career path for solicitors and focus on businesses and roles that they find interesting.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
Since our merger with CMS and Nabarro there are so many more opportunities to take advantage of, especially internationally. It would be great to spend more time out and about getting to know all of our international colleagues and their clients and practice areas and seeing where there are synergies and shared relationships. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that since May and focusing on building a truly global media offering for CMS, but there is always more that can be done.