In this first episode of the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Rob Hanna is joined by Nicola Rubbert and Olly Haddock from the London Young Lawyers Group, to talk about being “Legally Connected” and the importance of networking in the legal sector.
With monthly events ranging from speed networking to careers evenings, boat parties to educational seminars, LYLG connects law students, trainees and qualified solicitors up to 7 years PQE. Nicola was Chair of the LYLG until January 2020, when her Vice-Chair, Olly stepped up to become the current LYLG Chair.
In this episode they discuss:
- How to effectively network in the legal sector
- Nicola and Olly’s roles in the London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)
- How to join the LYLG
3 Reasons to Listen:
- Learn why networking in the legal industry is important.
- How to join the London Young Lawyers Group.
- Perks of joining LYLG.
- London Young Lawyers Group
- London Young Professionals Network
- Join the Legally Speaking Club Discord server here
London Young Lawyers Group:
- Network where like-minded lawyers and aspiring lawyers come together.
- Informal support network to get to know other lawyers and what they are doing.
- Hosts one event every month, including relaxed, sociable events to get to know others.
- Events appeal to a broad range of members, varying from helping people with training contacts to seminars dealing with more complex areas of law.
Finding the London Young Lawyers Group:
- Nicola herself found the group on The Law Society’s website under local groups for London.
- The group’s social media presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, along with word of mouth, have made them well known.
- The group’s ambassadors have promoted them and helped reach a new market.
How to join the LYLG committee and advice on attending events:
- Becoming a member and attending events provides good insight into knowing if it is the right thing for you.
- When attending her first event, Nicola thought about backing away but found the committee was welcoming and recommends her dad’s advice of making sure you smile and be polite.
- After breaking into a new circle, handing out a business card is an acceptable way to end the conversation when networking.
The benefits of joining the LYLG:
- Meeting solicitors or lawyers with different skill sets through the group can result in getting work referred to people.
- People have met and got to know lawyers on a repeat basis and worked for different firms with them.
- Nicola’s experience of meeting in-house solicitors through events motivated her to explore law as a career.
Olly Haddock’s work at RadcliffesLeBrasseur:
- Olly works in private practice at RadcliffesLeBrasseur, where the LYLG bring in work to the firm and helps with marketing.
- This helps junior lawyers to get their name out there, along with the firm’s name too.
How to break into the industry and network:
- At an early stage, breaking into the industry can be difficult whilst trying to join law firms that promote networking.
- Olly tries to live by the advice given to him by a partner from work that if things at work aren’t satisfactory, trying to change it from within can help.
- Olly describes how partners are now open-minded to networking and marketing, and stresses the importance of conversing with them about attending networking events.
Olly and Nicola’s advice on managing work and responsibilities:
- Olly advises that the LYLG has to be something you are passionate about.
- He explains that your value to a private practice law firm is dependent not only on skills but on your network.
- Nicola describes that for herself, her job as a lawyer comes first, however, she does schedule in time in the evenings or weekends.
- By running the committee, Olly and Nicola have gained management skills, and by running events, they have developed their organizational skills.
5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode:
- “…if things at work aren’t the way you want them to be, then you don’t have to look for another firm you can maybe, partners are open-minded to networking and marketing, try and change it from within”.
- “I think there’s just such a thirst for knowledge out there”.
- “And I think you have to keep your energy up and your excitement for the profession going”.
- “…networking, whether you like it or not, is an absolute must”.
- “I think you should just go to things and enjoy them for what they are and aim to have a good conversation with other intelligent people”.
Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by two very special guests in the legal community. Nicola Rubbert and Olly Haddock. Who, amongst many other things, which we will certainly be talking about in today’s episode, are the current Chair and Vice Chair of the wonderful London Young Lawyers Group. Welcome, both!
Olly Haddock: Thanks Rob, nice of you to have us.
Nicola Rubbert: Hi Rob, Thank you.
Rob Hanna: Good. I guess I must start by asking the all important question, as this a legal podcast after all. On the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, how real do you rate the TV series Suits? Olly coming to you first.
Olly Haddock: I actually have been watching this right now. This minute. And when they brought Mike back, it made it. So 10.
Olly Haddock: And actually no, the best bit was the little jibe about , I don’t know if any of you heard this, about Megan. They asked how Rachel was doing, and Mike said something like ‘better than you could possibly imagine’.
Rob Hanna: And Nicola, Olly said he’s said he’s not going to steal the mic all day. So come on, tell us your out of 10.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, Ten. Absolutely the same. And I, definitely, Rachel Zane made it for me. So I’m quite sad that she left.
Rob Hanna: Yeah, we heart her. Okay, But today we are gonna be talking about being legally connected and the importance of networking in the legal sector. So I think it’ll be quite good for our listeners to understand perhaps how we first met through our own networking approaches and kind of got our working relationship to this point before we dive in, to talk a little bit more. So do you guys want to sort of share your stories on that?
Olly Haddock: It’s quite a funny story actually. We, as the London Young Lawyers work with a lot of organisations and, the best route in is when someone’s messages. I think Rob actually messaged me on LinkedIn . And, you know, introducing himself and all the other things he does. And my initial response is: That’s great. Do you want to work with us on an event?
Olly Haddock: And the rest is history.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, I think that’s my fault. I always say we’ve got to keep up our amount of interested sponsors, and we are lucky to have quite a few. But basically, if someone tries to sell it to you, sell back to them.
Rob Hanna: You mean lawyers don’t like to be sold to?
Rob Hanna: But taking a step back then, for those who are new to perhaps tell us what it is, what it’s all about.
Nicola Rubbert: At a very simple level, it’s a network where like-minded lawyers and aspiring lawyers can come together and talk about what they do. Just be amongst other people doing similar jobs in the legal sphere. It’s, I think, it’s a bit of an informal support network because people might want to talk about work or they might not. It’s just nice to get to know other lawyers to find out about what they’re doing. You might go on your own. You might go with colleagues. It’s a real mixed bag. And then we host one event a month so they could be educational seminars. Or perhaps something that would matter to an individual like financial planning for the future. We host really relaxed, sociable events where people can get to know each other properly. So we’re just trying to give a really even mix of things for our members.
Olly Haddock: And I think, that the idea is to appeal to the broad, broad range of members. So anything from LPC to 7 years PQE, is the official sort of line. So we run events that will help people out with training contracts. We’ll do seminars with various people and then anything up to in house counsel seminars where we’re learning about quite complex pieces of law. That’s slightly more sort of advanced one. So and then everything in between, so trying to keep it broad.
Rob Hanna: So if someone wants to, I guess, How did they hear about you guys? You know, obviously, podcasts are these great things to do. But, you know, how would people hear about you? And, you know, if they want to be searching or thinking about improving their legal networks, how could they kind of hear about that?
Nicola Rubbert: Well, a variety of ways. So I first found the group when I was doing my training contract on the Law Society’s website. It had a section where it showed local groups, so that was under the London section. So I got in touch and asked about going to an event. So if people actively searching that way, then that’s quite good. But otherwise we’ve tried to do a lot of work on LinkedIn, instagram, Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth. A lot of people, actually, I do go to and say ‘How did you hear about this event?’ And they’ll say my friend, my colleague told me. So been quite lucky in that respect that most people seem to actually know who we are.
Olly Haddock: Absolutely and our social media presence has grown.
Rob Hanna: Well you’re smashing it right. you’re into the thousands now, it’s growing sort of exponentially over the last few months.
Olly Haddock: We’ve got some fantastic ambassador’s onboard recently. They first and foremost, they are supporters promoting us on. They are. They’ve all got their own following. They all produce some brilliant sort of pieces. Legally Liana, for instance, is great on if you’re trying to get a training contract. But they’ve all got their skill sets, which is helpful for us. And frankly, they are experts. These guys, they’re doing instagram every day. They know how the best storys look. They know how things work, which is more than Nicola and I do, and I think the rest of the committee.
Nicola Rubbert: [Laughter]
Olly Haddock: It’s really helpful to have them. They’ve got their own bases and they are helping us reach the new market, which is fantastic.
Rob Hanna: Which is good. Which is great. And if people actually want to be more involved and potentially join the committee, how do they go about doing that? Well, how did you guys join the committee and get involved, I guess is probably a good point?
Nicola Rubbert: Well, I would say the first thing is to actually be a member and come to the events and enjoy them and know that it’s the right thing for you because I would be hesitant to take anyone on that just wants to jump straight into the committee because they might be doing it for the wrong reasons. For the CV? Really its all about,
Olly Haddock: It’s a big commitment, and you have to really enjoy it.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah,
Olly Haddock: And it can’t be just for the
Rob Hanna: you think of some of the junior lawyers, even myself, when I was starting my professional career, it may not sound it today, but I was quite shy and, you know, I thought of going to an event, and I think Nicola you’ve got quite a cool story about your first event, which you can probably share with people listening in. And, you know, people have got fears about these things or they’re not sure? They haven’t got anyone to go with, what is your advice to them?
Nicola Rubbert: Just take a deep breath and, put on a smile and go for it. I mean, that is what I told myself. So, yes, my first event. I was standing at the door and I felt fine on the way on and just as I was outside, and I thought, Oh, no, no one is going to talk to me. I don’t know how to do, what are we doing. I was thinking about backing away and then somebody opened the door, so I had to go in. But everyone was so friendly. The committee was so lovely and I just sort of broke into a circle. I think my dad’s always said just make sure you smile and you be polite. And then who is not not going to want to talk to you. Everyone’s in the same position,
Olly Haddock: I think it is important to remember, like when you said break into a circle, there are different rules, to networking events and there are if you know, down the pub, you can break into a new circle to say ‘Hi, I’m XYZ’ and its fine, and then equally at the end of a conversation. If you’re networking, you can say ‘Great, thanks. Here’s my card. Let’s stay in touch. I’m gonna work the room.’ And it’s allowed. So there aren’t those awkward patches where you’re sort of just trying to drag her out for a bit of conversation. You can just move on.
Rob Hanna: and have you got any success stories of members who have joined, have kind of reported back some of the real benefits they’ve had or anything that’s happened. You know what? That’s really great. For people listening in, saying ‘oh I’m really too nervous’ or ‘I’m not sure about this’, you know? Is there any stories you can share that people have kind of gone on or got some real benefits?
Nicola Rubbert: On a really kind of basic level and good for the day job, are people getting work referred to them because you’re meeting solicitors or lawyer with different skillsets. So I think when you’re actually not working one on one and you get to know someone, then you think, actually, I do need to refer some work someone. So I’d like to take you on board. So that’s definitely a success story in terms of
Olly Haddock: on jobs, people have genuinely met another lawyer, got to know them on a repeat basis and then working for different firms with them.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, that’s actually probably a few years ago when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next career-wise, I’ve met quite a few in house solicitors. I don’t think I would have met them otherwise, but from going to events and talking to them, they all seem so happy. So I thought, i’m going to explore this a little bit.
Rob Hanna: You’ve both been very modest. We’ll talk about your wider initiatives as well, because as well as this, you do tonnes of other things. But I know Olly, particularly you’re in private practise at the moment at Radcliffe’s doing really, really, really doing great work there. And you’ve really had some successes through all of these things, particularly London Young Lawyers as well, actually bringing in work, right? So great.
Olly Haddock: Yeah all sorts of things. It’s bringing in work. It’s it’s helping out with things on the marketing side. So one of the big things now for junior lawyers is not just, you know, sat down with your nose to the grindstone its actually getting your name out there trying to, get the firm’s name out there and that’s something that,
Rob Hanna: Do you think that’s harder? You know, some people may be sitting in Magic Circle firms, maybe sitting in Silver Circle firms, US firms, you know, Let’s not shy from the fact that you know like billables and chargeables and getting the job done. Do you think people, if they really are thinking about networking through their career, should be really thinking about which law firms to join that already kind of promote that? Or do you not think that’s something to consider?
Olly Haddock: I think so at the early stage, the industry is so difficult to break into that. Yeah, let’s be honest. People don’t always have a choice. You know, you’ve done something right if you’ve got free or four to pick from for a training contract. So, but what a great partner at work and a lot of people always told me and what I tried to live by, if things at work aren’t the way you want them to be, then you don’t have to look for another firm you can maybe, partners are openminded to networking and marketing, try and change it from within. Speak to people. Well, it’s the 21st century, the changes to work life balance, even at the giants, there are conversations to be had, especially in terms of getting out to networking events.
Rob Hanna: Yeah, and for people managing the day job because that’s gonna be part and parcel. I mean, you guys, I don’t know how you do it. You’re just managing a 1,000,001 things operating what you do, how tough is it? And you know how you mentioned earlier about you need to be passionate, and we’re not gonna give people committee responsibilities. But, you know, if people really do have that passion and want to do it, you know how do you manage it, and if people listening in, what tips and advice would you give them?
Olly Haddock: It can’t be. You know, something that you feel you have to do, especially if you’re gonna get involved with the committee or anything like that. But also, you have to look at it realistically, your value to a private practise law firm as you start going up the ranks is not just your skills as a lawyer, because, frankly, every lawyer in the city has got the grades and you know is smart. But your value is gonna be your network. I’m not gonna call in the awful phrase, but it literally is, your network. But, you know, you’ve got to look long term and you’ve got to think who’s gonna be instructing me years down the line and that starts now.
Nicola Rubbert: Oh, the day job absolutely, it has to come first and I love being a lawyer, so obviously I’ll always put that first, but I definitely schedule in time, in the evenings or on the weekends. To actually do the tasks that need doing so it is good because it adds to, your time management skills and also actually feels like I’m running a business. And that is great commercially.
Olly Haddock: We’re trying to run a committee here, so we’re getting management skills. We’re trying to run events, so we’re having organisational skills, we are trying to manage a very busy diary, so like you’re saying, got all the skills that
Nicola Rubbert: I had to teach myself to use the website the other day. Fill some pages.
Rob Hanna: WordPress. SEO will come to you, right?
Rob Hanna: I mean, I’m just saying buzz words. I don’t know what any of those are.
Nicola Rubbert: I think it’s good to draw on any skills that you might have. So I went to Swansea University, which was a great time. But it also equip me for this role without me realising it, because I had some roles there, I was student chair of the Student Staff Consultative Committee. I worked in the entertainments team. I worked on the pro bono committee, so I think you kind of forget that you’re do all these exciting things at uni and then you might think that, that’s that part done with. But then when I got invited to join the committee, I thought, that’s perfect. I could actually use these skills.
Rob Hanna: So you’re gathering members at pace at the moment. That’s fair to say. Every event I’ve been to has been amazing. We’ll talk about some of the events and some of the sort of high profile ones we’ve had recently. But what is in store for sort of people wanting to join you guys in 2020? What’s sort of on the menu, and what’s gonna get people excited?
Nicola Rubbert: I think we do have actually a good balance. Like I said, of our seminars to keep your knowledge going and actually, that sounds a bit sad. [Laughter] But I think sometimes the perfect week night out is going to learn about some new piece of law and then and then mingle with people afterwards and make new connections. So I think we’ll always keep our core events like that probably have our usual boat party.
Rob Hanna: Ooh tell us about that?
Nicola Rubbert: So that’s every summer.
Olly Haddock: The highlight of the year.
Nicola Rubbert: I’ve even bumped into people at just random non-lawyer events that have said, “Oh yeah, you’re the people that do that great boat party”.
Olly Haddock: It’s a lot of work and involves trying to find a lot of funding and a lot of, you’re literally on a boat, so it’s quite difficult. We’re trying to get everything sorted, but we didn’t do it one year and we had so much feedback like “where is it?”
Olly Haddock: So we had to put it back on again!
Nicola Rubbert: So that’s back on the menu. We like to think that most things always go well at our events. But it went slightly wrong a few years ago when we were touring, so we usually go east, then west, or west then east. So we were, had gone west to around Chelsea and suddenly the boat pulled in to the embankment.
Olly Haddock: And they didn’t say anything.
Nicola Rubbert: And no one had mentioned why, and everyone thought ‘there’s a problem with the boat, what’s going on?’ There were whispers and then obviously running the event you’re thinking great, everyone’s talking and worried. I don’t know what’s going on! I went and had a word with the staff, and it turned out that the caterers had forgotten to buy the salad for the barbecue dinner. So someone had nipped up the road to the local Tesco, and then came running back down and started hurling bags of salad!
Rob Hanna: Literally the tip of the iceberg. And here we are, people have paid good money to come to a boat party, and they’re watching people throw their, [Laughter] literally throw their dinner.
Rob Hanna: Thrown responsibly.
Nicola Rubbert: But it all worked out in the end.
Olly Haddock: Great salads.
Rob Hanna: You need a salad, right? You gotta balance the diet.
Nicola Rubbert: But I think we’d also like to enhance what we’re doing with health and wellness as well.
Olly Haddock: Yeah, it’s been a big push of ours. We both know and work with Kayleigh Leonie very closely. She is the mastermind behind the recent survey that’s been released, supported by the Law Society. The figures and statistics on that were terrifying. So it’s a big push for the LYLG to support wellness programmes. And pro bono, we actually have a prob bono event coming up. Do you want to tell us about that?
Nicola Rubbert: 6th November. So that’s a collaboration with this is quite funny, actually it’s typical me. I said, this is the last event I’m doing, at the Supreme Court. I think the same day that the event was running, later on that day I said ‘Okay, so now we’re doing pro bono event on the 6th of November, someone from Advocate got in touch. We’re teaming up with Middle Temple Young Barrister’s Association and the London Solicitors Litigation Association and we are putting together, a panel of people that have achieved some really great things in the world of pro bono. Solicitor’s and Barristers who are not only very successful in their day jobs, but they’re managing to do excellent work on top. So we’re going to hear about how they not only fit it in around work but how it has actually enhanced what they’re doing. So that’s that’s coming up next. And yeah, that’s proven popular already.
Olly Haddock: We have also gotta give a shout out somewhere to the mentoring scheme that we’re about to start. If you’re listening, if you’re either, if you have got a training contract or if you don’t keep an eye out because there will be two posts coming up and we want to get in touch with both sets so that we can have a good pool of mentors and they can hopefully, just assist people with you know, the dire questions that they have to go through, like interview techniques or that sort of thing. And then just have a sort of shoulder to lean on if nothing else.
Rob Hanna: Yeah, and you touched on it before, but the Supreme Court, I mean, we had an honour obviously, Kissoon Carr being part of that, that was very much your guy’s gig, and I think that’s just such a prestigious event. So telling people about some of the other things and that particular event, do you want to talk a bit more about that?
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, that’s definitely the favourite. I’m sure it will remain that for me.
Rob Hanna: Did Boris Johnson’s news the week or two before help?
Olly Haddock: Boris Johnson hyped the event!
Rob Hanna: It was a sell out right?! He sold out, he sold out! I mean, there’s Glastonbury tickets, and there’s a Supreme Court event. [Laughter] Which went first?
Nicola Rubbert: Exactly. It’s just such a beautiful place. And it’s a place that you kind of dream of one day working in perhaps. Or you know, at least bring a case there. So…
Olly Haddock: Taking note behind a really good Barrister there.
Nicola Rubbert: So, I just thought actually, it would be so nice to marry up. You know, having a tour of the building, getting to explore the different courts, the library, very exciting. You usually can’t go in there because it’s only for Justices.
Rob Hanna: I did find that amazing how we all got very excited when they said, ‘now we’re going to see the library’. [Laughter] But it was amazing!
Olly Haddock: There was literally just one table, with no plugs and just surrounded by books. None of the Justices actually sit in there.
Rob Hanna: You’re not buying it, you’re not buying it.
Nicola Rubbert: I saw one in there when I went to have a look around, and we felt a bit naughty. [Laughter] So yeah, we thought it would be good. Let’s also couple up with some really good networking. And it just gave us such a lovely feel. I saw so many people making friends or
Olly Haddock: It was amazing. The feedback from that is the best we’ve had. Honestly, for any of the events that I’ve certainly been involved in.
Rob Hanna: I think it’s important to point out as well as a lawyer. Particularly as someone aspirational. It’s okay to have fun. Yes, this is about, kind of, going out there, improving your craft, learning how to network. But, you know, it’s okay to have fun and socialise with lawyers, and it’s just not all about sort of developing. And I think you guys offer a really good balance, from what I’ve seen, in terms of the two.
Nicola Rubbert: For sure. And I think you have to keep your energy up and your excitement for the profession going. So even though we hope to get most of this from what we’re actually doing day to day, you know, sometimes you need to go wider, which is what we try and achieve. And you just keep up compassion for your job and for being a solicitor, by going to events and networking. Sometimes you need that pick me up and to remind yourself. Actually, I do really love being a solicitor and I like law…
Olly Haddock: Honestly, walking around that building and going on the tour. You just look around and think I’m actually part of this, and that’s quite cool.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah. For sure.
Rob Hanna: No it was definitely an iconic event. There’s no doubt about that. I guess moving on to other things that are creeping in with technology, AI, and you know, there’s a term now ‘legal influencers’, that is becoming more of a thing, shall we say. You know, societies such as yours, is that a platform that can help people if they want to be putting in sort of positive content? I mean, there’s a few people that are absolutely smashing at the moment as we know, but you know, what’s your view on that? And do you think your kind of society can help people if they want to do that as well?
Olly Haddock: I think there’s just such a thirst for knowledge out there. And I think the influencers, certainly that I’ve seen, that are doing better than others, they’re in that niche of trying to break into this industry is so difficult and at the start, you are just clamouring for anything you can find that’s gonna help. That’s gonna give you a leg up. And isn’t it great? Because I think the difference, perhaps between legal influencers and in other industries is, I don’t as far as I’m aware, know that the legal influencers are gaining anything from it. They literally are just giving back. And, we’ve all just been through this process of getting a training contract not too long ago, and we remember how awful it is and a lot of us want to just help, help other people through that.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, I think you definitely feel so much gratitude when actually qualifying because the statistics are so scary about the amount of people that should be eligible to get a training contract and those that actually get it. So that gratitude, I suppose that feeds into what we’re doing, but definitely the content that I’m seeing people produce to help others get training contracts is great. I actually wish it had been around for me.
Olly Haddock: Absolutely.
Rob Hanna: I mean, Nicola, you’re now trending on LinkedIn right? They’re writing to you exclusively off the back of this. So you’re in this bracket, so you’re downplaying your influence.
Nicola Rubbert: I’m an accidental influencer.
Nicola Rubbert: LinkedIn told me I’m trending! [Laughter]
Rob Hanna: But just because you know I’m in awe of both of you, because I think you’re doing such great work for the LYLG. But you do do lots of other things as well as the day job. So I guess there are other things you’d like to sort of talk about or share that you’ve got in the pipeline or you’re involved in that might be helping the legal community listening in, or telling them how they could get involved with other stuff?
Olly Haddock: Well certainly, so a few years ago, I just saw that was well, one of the challenges that we have is holding on to our members beyond 2 or 3 years PQE, particularly as I said before, our bracket goes all the way up to seven. But I just felt when people got to the two or three year mark, they wanted to be networking with other professions and there are lots of other industry bodies, much like us, out there in London. None of us were talking. None of us were communicating with each other. I think we had one event over the entire like three or four years with Rex Matrix and that seemed crazy. And so about two years ago I reached out to quite a few of these other organisations, I won’t list them all now, we’ve got 8 member organisations. And, we created what’s known as the London Young Professionals Network and it’s a network of networks. It’s others like us operating in London that just want to offer more opportunities for cross industry networking.
Nicola Rubbert: In the pipeline at the moment, I’m doing a research and thinking about social mobility, so there is something that I’m working on, but I think it will take quite a bit of time. So that’s definitely a topic that needs, more attention.
Olly Haddock: Yeah, for sure.
Rob Hanna: And just on the topic of fun. You know, you guys are having lots of committee meetings and you know, I think there’s an ongoing joke that you guys see a lot of each other, but who has some of the annoying habits on the committee? How do you get through those meetings? Give us a bit of an inside lens on what that looks like.
Olly Haddock: Well, the toughest bit is usually us two squabbling about what is going to be best and what isn’t.
Rob Hanna: You are like the legal married couple, right?
Nicola Rubbert: We try and hide that from our children, I mean, committee members!
Olly Haddock: Also, we are sat there, and it’s like, 12 o’clock. We’re trying to, or should be trying to sleep. And it, ‘oh have you got the name badges ready?’ or ‘I haven’t got the name badges!’
Nicola Rubbert: [Laughs]
Olly Haddock: And its awful!
Nicola Rubbert: And then we will pick it up at 7 a.m.
Olly Haddock: ‘So have you got the name badges?’ No, I haven’t!
Rob Hanna: That’s quite funny. You need name badges! So what challenges, you know, when you’re having these meetings, you talked a little bit about sponsorship. I don’t think you gonna struggle for that now because I definitely think the brands out there doing some crazy cool events, and have done, and the Supreme Court’s only going to lift you further. But yeah, what are some of the challenges you think you’re going to be facing into the new year and where people could potentially help you?
Nicola Rubbert: I think we just always want to make sure that we’re pitching our events correctly, that we’re actually, we’re actually continuing to do things that will interest people and people want to come to. I remember the first committee meeting I went to back in 2014. It wasn’t particularly good, actually, because there had been an event that had been pulled because of a low sign-up rate. So I kind of, since then, thought, ok, I need to make sure this never happens. So I really try and make sure that an event sells out actually, or beyond.
Olly Haddock: And it’s amazing, now we have our issues the other way around. We have people messaging us on the day before.
Nicola Rubbert: Trying to get on a waiting list.
Olly Haddock: Saying ‘is there any chance I could get in’ and it’s a no.
Rob Hanna: That’s great. But in terms of general practical costing, you know people coming out, particularly aspirational lawyers, You know, they’re in a lot of debt, right? So even you know, how fairly priced are your sort of events.? You know what does membership look like? What are the rough costings? Because, you know, when people start out, they want to have access to these things. But are you fairly priced?
Nicola Rubbert: Well membership is £20 a year.
Rob Hanna: Is that it?
Nicola Rubbert: Yes. [Laughs]
Olly Haddock: You can make that back within two or three events.
Nicola Rubbert: Yes, a lot of events are free for members, or say, at least be discounted. So you could definitely go to four free events a year and make that back.
Olly Haddock: So for the boat party, I think you can save about £15 on your ticket between members and non-members, give or take. So just that alone, you can almost make your money back.
Nicola Rubbert: We try so hard, to subsidise things. That’s why we rely on the sponsors to keep things going because we do want to attract as many people as possible. We definitely don’t want price to be a barrier for anyone.
Rob Hanna: No, I agree with that. This boat party, I’m definitely coming next year. Sounds like, yeah…
Nicola Rubbert: You’re on the guest list!
Rob Hanna: Yeah, I hope so. And what about in terms of, sort of looking forward to people wanting to get involved and then coming along to these things. What do you think would make them a better lawyer? What do you think they can take to their firms that you’ve seen from people who have been members over the years that has really kind of added value to their firms? I know we’ve touched on a few of these points, but people actually thinking about this, if I’m gonna dedicate time to society and be involved in it. I need to kind of showcase to my firm that I can really bring value. We talked about business bringing in, but is there anything you think that the society can really help people to become a better lawyer? That will be valuable for them and their current firms?
Nicola Rubbert: I think it helps your confidence generally. It helps you in talking to a lot of different people. You will get invited to seminars that are free, where you can, you know, learn about commercial updates for example.
Olly Haddock: I think, it’s something I have touched on before, but networking, whether you like it or not, is an absolute must. Now, whether that’s internal networking or external networking. To get the best seats as a trainee, you’ve got to internally network. To get the NQ role, you’ve got to internally network, to get, you know, to start pushing up and get to wherever you wanna get to, you’ve gotta internally network. Now, those skills, they’re gonna help you in the day job, but also as I was saying before. You’ve gotta build up your your outside professional network as well. It’s a must.
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, you could definitely get too comfortable within your workplace. So I think it’s really important. And it is such a friendly, relaxed way to ease yourself into it actually. So I think there’s definitely a good platform to then go onto.
Rob Hanna: But what if people don’t like networking? You know, some people just generally are quite, you know, they want to be buried into the docks, quite happy getting on the day job, drafting away, doing what they’re doing and go home. And, you know, how do we prize those people out? Give them confidence to do it, because I know we’re probably quite natural extroverts and happy to do that. But that’s not everyone in the legal profession. So what advice or tips would you give to those people?
Nicola Rubbert: I think that terms quite scary, and I think that term makes you think that you should be getting something out of it. I would say that you shouldn’t actually have an agenda. I think you should just go to things and enjoy them for what they are and aim to have a good conversation with other intelligent people. I think if you go with a fixed agenda or you think I need to come back with this many cards, I need to win this business. That’s completely the wrong approach. So I think if you go, if you just treat it as I’m meeting some lovely people and I’m going to have a nice evening or a a nice afternoon, then you know later on, naturally things will happen really unexpectedly.
Olly Haddock: I think I was saying, it’s a skill set and it’s like many other things. You can develop those skills over time. So to say, ‘I’m not an extrovert, I’m not good at networking’. I don’t think that is necessary true. Start as early as you can, come along, bring some friends, leave early whatever you need to do but just start coming along. And as I say you build those skills, build those skills over. It takes a while, but it will happen.
Nicola Rubbert: Definitely for our events, I will always say please lookout for anyone on their own. And I try to do that. The other day when I was rushing, I was rushing around trying to do lots of things at the Supreme Court, and then I spotted someone there.
Rob Hanna: Name badges.
Nicola Rubbert: Tour stickers actually.
Nicola Rubbert: And I spotted her on her own and I thought, oh I really wanted to speak to her. So I did briefly, but I spotted a friend. So I thought, actually, can I just pair you up and get you talking because, you know, you just don’t want to be on your own. So definitely with us, we try and do that. And I say, If you do get over that hurdle, and wherever you go to an event, I think you should try and keep an eye out for someone that’s on their own and try and bring them in, and remember that you were that person.
Olly Haddock: Absolutely. And at our events, look out, for a committee member. Yeah, that’s that’s one of the reasons we’re there.
Rob Hanna: Yeah, I think you guys are just killing it on social media as well. So people who are new to this it’s worth just sort of mentioning what your instagram is, so that people can follow you and all of that good stuff. We will probably share some links on the podcast as well. But what’s your official instagram?
Nicola Rubbert: @ it’s my full name, boring. [Laughter] Nicola Elizabeth Rubbert, all as one word.
Olly Haddock: @Ollybsh and yeah, @ London Young Lawyers and then we’re on Twitter. LinkedIn is We’re updating all the time. That’s a really good one. You join the mailing list. I think if you just go to our website and scroll down to the bottom of the main page, you could just type your email address in. We promise we don’t. Spam. You probably pretty much get one email a month for that months event and then if you sign up to be a member, I think you get added automatically to the mailing list.
Nicola Rubbert: And we’ve got Twitter, @ under score LYLG. Where we are posting quite a bit now.
Olly Haddock: Facebook. We are everywhere. We’re everywhere!
Rob Hanna: I expect nothing less, even podcast now! Okay. And just for anyone, as we sort of wrap up. I think there’s been lots of kind of interesting kind of content there that guy’s thinking about getting involved in society, trying to improve their networks. What advice would you give to a younger version of you? Sort of thinking you know, going through your legal career in terms of being networking. What’s the sort of, the top three tips you would give to people thinking about this? Olly, cause you do a million and 1 things, coming to you first.
Olly Haddock: See yourself not just as a lawyer, but as a business. You’ve got to think of yourself not just doing the law these days. It’s not enough.
Rob Hanna: Yeah, okay. Nicola, what would you say? You know, why should people bother? Because some people listening to this, you know, I”m just a really good executor of the law. I’m technically brilliant. I’m gonna go through my career, and I’m going to be absolutely fantastic. This isn’t important to me.’ What actually, we’re saying It’s fundamentally important. You know, we’re servicing clients, it’s a relationships game. You need to be able to improve your networks. So how do we say to these people that this is actually equally as important as you being technically very good at your job?
Nicola Rubbert: Yeah, well, it’s important to keep up with the profession generally and the changes in the law. Maybe you could just be reading that all the time, but it’s so much nicer, to actually hear other people’s opinions and have full discussions about it. And it just gets you outside of, you know, always reading or being on your desk. You know, it’s a nice change of scenery and productive at the same time. And as I said, networking is itself. Just talk. Just try, just try and enjoy it actually.
Rob Hanna: And we are human. We’ve talked a lot about work, society’s and everything else. But you know, what’s going on in your personal lives that you’re trying to get on track? Personally, I’m trying to get myself fit, so I’m trying to get myself going to the gym two or three times a week. At the moment I’m up one, which is progress from none. Is there anything you guys personally are trying to work on, that you’re kind of fitting it all in, just to show we can be humans at the same time.
Nicola Rubbert: So doing lots of fitness and outdoorsy stuff is really important to me. My favourite, probably is paddle-boarding. So I try and do quite a lot of that when I can and hopefully will escape in a few weeks to do a bit more.
Rob Hanna: Do you not just fall off a lot of the time? I’ve tried that and I’m hopeless. Have you got really good balance?
Nicola Rubbert: I think Pilates helps, yeah.
Nicola Rubbert: That’s what you need to do.
Rob Hanna: That’s what I’m missing out!
Nicola Rubbert: Do you know what, I think, even. Even when I was in Portugal and saying, ‘Olly, I can’t talk to you right now, I’m going paddle-boarding’. He was still still trying to ask me questions!
Olly Haddock: She was on a wellness retreat. And I was like yeah but, have we got the name badges?!
Rob Hanna: Gotta get those name badges guys. If all you take from today is make sure you have name badges if you’re running an event. That would be good. Guys, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you today. I hope enjoyed it, and I think there’s lots of extra content now that people can listen into. I’m sure this isn’t the first or last time we’ll be seeing the end of you, so thanks so much. And yeah, over and out!
Olly Haddock: Thank you, great fun!
Nicola Rubbert: Thank you for having us!