Addleshaw Goddard’s graduate recruitment partner for Manchester Justine Delroy warns candidates against getting overcoached for interviews
Firm: Addleshaw Goddard
Title: Commercial tax partner, graduate partner for Manchester office, also leads AG’s gender working group
Degree subject: Classics
Hobbies: Fell walking and SCUBA diving
How long have you been a partner? Three years
Who/what inspired you to be a lawyer? Primarily my father – who was generally a strong role model for me as well as a great dad. But I was also influenced by a very charismatic corporate lawyer called Steven Sugar who was one of the founding partners of the firm I qualified at, Forsters. His intellect and judgment were needle-sharp, but it’s his integrity and willingness to fight for what’s right that continue to inspire and motivate me. He first challenged the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act six years ago, and died of cancer at the beginning of this year just weeks before the start of the Supreme Court hearing.
What things did you wish you knew before embarking on a legal career? That the opportunity to take a gap year was worth taking (even if it would have slowed my career down).
What does your typical day involve? I spend a lot of time supervising my team and advising colleagues on transactional matters.That, combined with non client work (such as recruitment and diversity), means that I often only get to my client transactional work towards the end of the day.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job? The fact that, as a partner at a firm like Addleshaws, I’m expected to perform to a very high standard on a number of fronts – quality technical client work, relationship building as well as business development and team management.
What has been the highlight of your legal career so far? Finding out that I’d been promoted to partner was perhaps my best moment. But I hugely enjoyed my week of building houses with new trainees in Romania.
What are the best aspects of your job? Working with like-minded people. I particularly enjoy looking after the Manchester trainees – there’s always plenty of banter. And my role in tax provides constant intellectual challenge and stimulation.
What are the worst aspects of your job? Long working hours – and it can be emotionally draining.
What tips would you give to students who want to break into the legal profession? Legal work experience, or indeed any business experience, is critical. Don’t worry about a slightly non-standard CV, as long as there’s a logic to your path and you can explain the decisions you’ve made.
What are the most common mistakes you’ve seen candidates making? My personal view is that some candidates are over-coached, and any good interviewer will probe below the slick veneer and determine whether the candidate really delivers the goods. And it’s important to be honest.
How has the legal market changed since the days you were a trainee? The competition at the moment is really tough. But the upside is that, as many firms seek to resource their routine work with legal assistants and paralegals (to reduce costs), trainees are freed up to take on more complex tasks with more responsibility.
What impact has the recession had on your firm? The overall impact has been pressure on pricing, and a need for us to be very creative and flexible in devising pricing models which work, and add value, for our clients. In terms of talent, fortunately, we’ve not had to defer any training contracts, and numbers have only slightly reduced over the last few years.
What three words best describe your firm? Dynamic, client-focused and cheerful
Where did you go for your last holiday? Walking on Skye in early January
What gadget/gizmo would you be lost without? The obvious answer is my blackberry, but to be honest, my favorite piece of kit at the moment is my new lightweight SCUBA regulator.