Paul Maynard, Hogan Lovells

Name: Paul Maynard

Firm: Hogan Lovells

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: History

University: Cambridge

Hobbies: Hockey, running, music

Current department: Intellectual Property, Technology, Media and Telecoms

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 15/3

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

In my second year at university I focused a lot on the History of Political Thought, working on the theoretical basis for laws and why we have them. I loved it, and from there it seemed like a natural progression, moving from theory of law to practice.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

The sheer volume of stuff there is to read! To put a good application together you have to know what the firm you’re applying to is really all about and the sorts of work they do. Every firm is different, so it takes a lot of time to read the websites and brochures, and then do some wider research, before you even start filling in the form.

Paul Maynard, Hogan Lovells
Paul Maynard, Hogan Lovells

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

After explaining why I think the people of the Falkland Islands have the right to decide which country they belong to, being asked whether I thought any individual has the right to secede from the United Kingdom. To be honest, I floundered a bit on this one. I said something about theoretically yes, but in reality it would never be allowed by the government. It was a bit of a weak answer.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

My work is split between the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) team and the data privacy team. The TMT group negotiates a lot of software licensing contracts, which my supervisor often gives me the first go at marking up, and advice on regulation for tech companies setting up in the UK for the first time. On the data privacy side, we give advice to companies that have suffered data breaches, and work on contracts for transferring data between companies. The wider IP team does a lot of patent and trademark litigation, which I’ve got involved with from time to time when they need extra support.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Firstly, the sheer variety of work. You never know what’s going to land on your desk. A couple of weeks ago we had a fairly innocuous-looking request for information about telecoms law in the UK, and when we Googled the client they turned out to be one of the largest companies in the world, with a famously eccentric owner.

Secondly, the people have been unfailingly great. I was genuinely surprised at how welcoming partners are (you hear stories…), and I’ve had a lot of feedback from people at all levels. It’s great that they really seem to care about you learning things.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

I wasn’t expecting to be able to leave on time quite so often! There are late nights, but not as many as I had expected (feared), and there’s a culture, in both departments I’ve been in at least, that if it gets to the evening and the work can be left, you should leave it and go home. If it can’t, you stay, but I’ve never felt that ‘face time’ is required.

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

Not that exciting. It’s from a client thanking me for some work I sent to her earlier today and forwarding on some internal correspondence so we’re up to date on how the project is progressing.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

My current supervisor is actually a pretty good place to start. Otherwise the PAs, but any trainee gossip usually gets spread far and wide on via the internal messenger worryingly quickly.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Actually not scary

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • At Glastonbury this year, I got a shout-out from Craig Charles (of Red Dwarf and Robot Wars fame)
  • I was told by a partner at one law firm interview that I ‘would be a good person to have at a dinner party’
  • I was once interviewed to be on the reality-TV show Shipwrecked

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

I’d probably have tried to make it as a music journalist

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

Make sure you actually want to do it. Applications take a lot of time and effort, and you’re unfortunately not going to get a training contract if you can’t prove that you genuinely want one. More practically, if you don’t want to do it the long hours and challenging work will seem much harder to cope with.