Harry is a future Trainee Solicitor at Top US firm, Baker McKenzie, who is passionate about helping aspiring lawyers with their career journeys. Harry’s podcast, ‘More From Law’ covers some of the latest developments in the legal industry with a variety of interviews, deep-dive analysis, commentary and discussion designed to broaden the listener’s legal horizon.
In this episode of the Legally Speaking Podcast, Harry delves into why he founded his podcast and law blog and shares some inspirational tips for law students who are trying to get Training Contracts.
[0:00:01.0] Rob Hanna: Welcome to Legally Speaking Podcast powered by powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by Harry Clark. Future Trainee Solicitor at Baker McKenzie, founder and host of the More from Law Podcast and law blogger. So, welcome Harry.
[0:00:16.3] Harry Clark: Thank you, Rob. Thank you so much for having me.
[0:00:17.5] Rob Hanna: It’s an absolute pleasure. You just told me off air that you’d rehearsed your Suits question. So, you know it’s our customary ice breaker.
[0:00:24.4] Harry Clark: Yes.
[0:00:24.3] Rob Hanna: So, on the scale of one to ten, what are you giving Suits?
[0:00:28.4] Harry Clark: Well, I have to qualify this first by saying, I’ve done that really terrible thing where I’ve not seen all of the episodes and I’ve been watching those highlights off YouTube and things like that. But from what I have seen, I’d probably have to give it around a five in terms of realism and closeness to industry. It’s quite funny, I was meeting a friend yesterday for a drink who doesn’t do law and he was kind of asking me for about 30 minutes all about Suits. He was like, “Oh, so this is like realistic, right? This is what lawyers do.” And I kind of had to just myth-bust for a bit. So yeah, no, I’m probably a solid five. What about yourself?
[0:00:58.6] Rob Hanna: Well, I think over the course of sort of season one and season two, we started off season one where we had a couple of 10s bizarrely. Then we had a couple of ones. And I think more and more now, we’re kind of landing in the middle of sort of you know, people accept there’s a lot of Hollywood in there. There are some glimpses of sort of honesty and reality of the law. So, yeah, I think that’s probably a fair reflection of five. So, I guess it’s probably worth the listeners getting a bit of a feel of how we got to know each other and I think it’s just the way of the modern world. It was through LinkedIn, right?
[0:01:27.5] Harry Clark: Yeah.
[0:01:27.6] Rob Hanna: And I think that’s one of the major platforms that you’re using at the moment but before we talk about that because I think that’s a good networking point for people, do you want to tell us a bit about you, your background, your studies and just talk more about you?
[0:01:39.8] Harry Clark: Sure, yeah. So, as you said, I’m a future trainee at at Baker McKenzie. I’ll be starting there in September of this year and right now, I’m studying the LPC fast-track at BPP. So, I’m only few weeks in but, already really enjoying it and its certainly different beast to university. I’m sure you can imagine. Yeah, speaking of Uni, I was at the University of York. I had also studied law there and then for the last sort of five or six months, as you said, I’ve been really getting into this kind of blogging, article writing, networking, all those sort of things. And it culminated with the release of my own podcast which I released today as we record. So, yeah, that’s sort of the last six months really.
[0:02:13.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and, you know, I think it’s great that there’s people like you out there doing all these wonderful things in terms of fuelling people with content and really transpire and help others. But was that something you always wanted to do or is this sort of just emerged?
[0:02:27.1] Harry Clark: Kind of a bit of both really. So, I always kind of had an interest in blogging and just writing things generally. One of my close friends had done it, not in the legal sphere and I could really tell from the conversations with her about how it’s a real passion project and you get really invested in it. So, I’d always kind of had it on the back burner. Then about six months ago, I made a sort of short post off the cuff on LinkedIn. I’d never used it before at all really or committed to it. It was just a digital CV to me at that time. And it sort of went viral and it blew up and I just kind of thought “Well, if I’m going to launch something, I’ll just try it now while I’ve got this little bit of momentum.” And then it’s literally been a case of week after week, month after month just sort of following the momentum of where it’s gone and it’s really turned into a sort of side hobby for me and I absolutely love it. It’s been really, really fun.
[0:03:11.9] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and I guess let’s talk about your personal journey before what you’re doing for others as well. How did you find sort of getting your training contract and how did you find the whole experience of that?
[0:03:22.1] Harry Clark: Yeah, like most people, I’d say tough. It’s a really mentally draining process for anyone and sure there are people out there who kind of get it first time and they’re lucky and that’s the end of it. But for most people it’s a kind of consistent two three-year process of applying and that was certainly the case for me. So, I sort of started at the end of my first year and I did about three rounds of applications and then just before I began my third year is when I was thankfully successful and yeah, like most people I think it was just a case of trying to figure out things for yourself because you’re not always quite sure where you’re going wrong when you do get rejected and it’s very different compared to most other kind of graduate routes. So, rather than kind of waiting until you’ve done your degree and then applying for a job like most of my siblings had done, instead I was having these kind of companies and these firms come to me at the end of my first year and kind of giving presentations and sort of seriously asking you to consider applying which was sort of quite shocking to me. But no, it was sort of a journey of kind of self-discovery and it was through speaking with currently practicing lawyers and getting that kind of second-hand opinion that really, I feel helped me the most. And kind of went from aimlessly wondering about to actually having some kind of direction in the application process really.
[0:04:31.5] Rob Hanna: Okay, and so then on to sort of Harry Clark Law, your own website…
[0:04:36.3] Harry Clark: Yeah, creative name.
[0:04:37.2] Rob Hanna: Yeah. Well, why not? Give us a break and it’s a blog as you say geared towards aspiring solicitors. So, you cover a whole range of topics there but do want to sort of tell us more about that and why people should check that out?
[0:04:51.7] Harry Clark: Yeah, so, again it started as a little passion project and I was sharing little things that I knew about the training contract application process and a bit about doing law at university and networking and things like that and then as it’s sort of gone on, I’ve kind of delved into little kind of personal insights into areas of law or I’ve collaborated with some really kind of cool and exciting industry experts to kind of give a bit more of a specialism to it. But yeah, essentially, it’s just a place where I sort of share my own thoughts on the industry as a whole and some sort of tips for those applying for training contracts and vacation schemes and then just generally some sort of tit bits and skills about interviewing and how to write good applications and things like that which is probably more applicable to any industry outside of law as well. So, it’s a place where I sort of try to give concise advice in a format that’s not too scary to aspiring legal professionals.
[0:05:41.8] Rob Hanna: And I think not to put you too much on the spot, but if you were to kind of say sort of three or four key points that you would advise people going through that process, what are your sort of top tips or things that people should think about and make sure they’re getting into?
[0:05:53.5] Harry Clark: Sure, so, I’ll give you four but not in any real order. So, number one for me probably the biggest of them actually, I will say that, was to really get specific and to tailor your application to the firm you’re applying to. So, in first year, I had a terrible strategy where I would copy and paste templates and send them off to firms, ridiculously generic, no real direction in it. And as you can imagine, I got smacked in the face with rejections from that. I even had a really embarrassing story where I forgot to change the name of the law firm in the first line.
[0:06:20.8] Rob Hanna: Oh, no.
[0:06:20.6] Harry Clark: And so, the recruiter opens it up and says, “To whoever” This is the wrong firm. And I got one back. It was kind of a reality moment for me…
[0:06:27.7] Rob Hanna: It’s hard to contest that one.
[0:06:27.5] Harry Clark: Yeah, exactly, it’s a lesson you learn quickly and once. So, that was kind of the main thing I tried to do is to really kind of learn about the firms and tailor them, tailor the applications to them really. Second was to kind of network and to get yourself out there. I think a lot of law students or younger legal professionals don’t either view it as important or it being sort of their place to do it. They sort of associate it with partners going out and trying to win clients or something like that. But it’s a really great way to you kind of learn more about the industry and meet some great people. So, for instance, I went to few conferences that were geared towards like legal tech and law tech.That was what I was sort of interested in. Went to all kinds of different law fairs where all the employers come to your campus. It’s a really great way to try and meet them face to face. So, yeah, definitely networking. Number three would be to get as much kind of mentoring advice as you can. People are unbelievably willing to help you if you kind of put yourself out there and bravely messaging some people on LinkedIn or through Email, whatever, and just kind of explaining your situation that “I’m a law student. I’d really appreciate some advice.” Meeting people for coffee and telephone calls and things is a great way to help as well. And then finally, I’d just say it’s the mental aspects of being resilient and kind of keeping that long-term goal in mind and going through that process, it can be extremely draining. There is an element of luck to it and it can often feel like you’re up against it all and so, a lot of the times the biggest struggles you go through in the process is kind of contending with your own response to rejection and you kind of have to rethink it. You have to try to view each rejection saying, “Well, I learned something about the application that I wrote. I learned something new about the process or I was able to try this or different type of research rather than just a yes or no kind of end result.” And if you kind of do that and you try to reflect on all the things you’ve done and kind of critically analyze it, you will hopefully get to the end point a lot quicker. So, yeah, there’s four tips.
[0:08:12.4] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no, I think they’re very well-made points. Very well said. And I think for me it’s really fascinating that a key point and I’ve been banging on about this from the start of doing the Legally Speaking Podcast is this whole networking thing. I touched it on top of our conversation about LinkedIn and there’s just a new wave of a lawyer coming through. And like you’ve rightly said, partners, old BD, I just think there’s a whole landscape change that’s about to happen with these people like yourself and lots of other legal influencers and there’s people who just wants to do more and get out there. So, what tips would you give to people in terms of networking in particular because you’re busy on LinkedIn. I think you’ve got your LinkedIn live now as well.
[0:08:50.5] Harry Clark: Yeah, that was recent, yeah.
[0:08:52.3] Rob Hanna: Which is great but yeah, give some people some tips and some pointers who it may not come so naturally to.
[0:08:57.2] Harry Clark: Sure, at the end of the day, the first step you have to take is to actually put yourself out there and to give it a go.
[0:09:01.1] Rob Hanna: But what if they don’t like doing that?
[0:09:03.7] Harry Clark: That’s the thing. It’s kind of a case of battling against it. So, start small, don’t feel like you have to rush right into the field of LinkedIn or some huge networking event or whatever. Try to get little one-on-one meetings that you’re comfortable with. Good thing that I used to do is go over group of friends when you go to these law fairs and things like that. Start really small and then as you get more confident, you can kind of build your way up from that and to find what you’re do and don’t like. And to, kind of take it slowly rather than trying to rush in right to the end result. And secondly, I’d also say, when you are networking, and you’re doing things like that, I was actually able to stand on the other side of the desk once at a law fair and to kind of talk to students who are coming to visit the Baker McKenzie group and one of things I noticed was that so many students felt like they had to go there and they had to make an absolute killer impression with some amazing one liner or question that would kind of ‘wow’ whoever you are talking to. And if you go in with that mentality, you put an immense amount of pressure on yourself and a lot of the times it won’t pay off in the way that you might be thinking. So, if anything, I’d say try to keep a relatively informal approach in terms of how you talk to people. Kind of just pretend you’re getting a coffee with them, you’re just asking genuine questions, asking things that you couldn’t just Google yourself and things that are personally important to you and if you go in with that slightly more relaxed approach and you do it with or without friends, if it’s sort of new to you, you’ll hopefully enjoy the process a lot more and actually get a lot more out of it than kind of going in with a “Gung ho, I need to get X out of this immediately.” Because a lot of the time, you’ll put too much pressure on yourself.
[0:10:25.3] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and we talked about mentoring there as well. I mean, I know it’s something you do, but I think there’s also something else that you do that, I think a lot of people think mentoring nowadays is still very much one-on-one in a room. Well, yes, that happens but it’s also, you know, your followers are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, right? You can’t physically be in the room with everyone. You do a lot of – I mean, you’ve embraced tech through LinkedIn, through LinkedIn live and again, is that something you want to tell us more about from your mentoring angle? Is this sort of new wave of mentoring?
[0:10:52.3] Harry Clark: Yeah, I think that’s true. So, it definitely started off when I was kind of only getting into the blogging and mentoring side of things, being in those one-to-one kind of basis and I still do that now and then when I can as well, be it through Email or amending a document or phone call. But you’re right, it gets to a point where if I kept doing that for everyone it be sort of quite ridiculous.
[0:11:11.1] Rob Hanna: Yeah.
[0:11:12.6] Harry Clark: So, I think it’s mostly about whenever I’m making content or I’m making a new post or something like that, I’m always thinking, what were the questions that I had in my mind that I didn’t really have an answer to during the whole application process. And there’s tons because if you are a law student and you’re going through that for the first time, it’s a completely new process that you wouldn’t have really had a chance to try before. So, I try to kind of answer those questions of well, what is a training contract, what is the LPC really like, what is this buzz phrase ‘commercial awareness’ or ‘artificial intelligence’ or ‘legal tech’ or whatever that I hear all the time. And trying to kind of dilute some of those misconceptions that I used to believe and the kind of common pitfalls I used to fall into in a way that would be broadly applicable to as many people as possible really so.
[0:11:53.6] Rob Hanna: And I think a lot of people have said to us, we’ve had quite a lot of people at the start of their careers on the podcast recently and we have people listening from that right the way to partner level, right the way through to sort of general counsels and people outside of the law but who want to be kind of doing more than that. But perhaps more people in their mid-point of their journey, one to four PQE. What do you think particularly the topic like legal tech? Those people who’re probably used to just doing the job. What do you think are going to be some of the changes you think might see coming as somebody who’s more on the pulse and sort of changes to the role that could be happening?
[0:12:26.7] Harry Clark: Yeah, so to me, the whole generation of new legal tech and this kind of new way of thinking about innovation in law firms, it’s as much as the kind of social and a cultural concept as much as it is a tech one. People tend to get bogged down in thinking “Oh, I need to be able to understand what a blockchain is and how it actually functions.” Whereas at the end of the day it’s the commercial aspect which is probably a lot more relevant and you’re right, if people have been doing the same thing for however many years or something, it might be kind of these new concepts coming in they don’t necessarily understand. And can get confused as to how they might, you know, in my view want to either change their practice or to learn something new. For me, I think you should kind of really get involved in those things that you’re interested in when it comes to either innovation or doing something outside of your work. For me that is the tech side of things but if you are in that kind of one to four year PQE bracket, regardless of what it is that you are doing in terms of some kind of extracurricular interest, you’ve got an immense amount of experience and knowledge that law students would be absolutely dying for when it comes to insights into the industry and wanting to learn more about what it is and what you do. So, for me, I think mentoring and kind of putting yourself out there is a great thing for anyone to do and then all of these kind of new changes with legal tech, are an opportunity to upskill and to change your approach to work and to try new things really. So, I’ve recently been trying to self-teach myself how to code and not necessarily to get to the end point where I actually could make something substantial but more to see how coders think and to kind of understand the way they view problems and I know other amongst me are kind of trying to do new things when it comes to developing their commercial awareness and trying out new ways of doing that, be it through appearing on podcasts or listening to them and kind of writing themselves these kind of reports and insights. So, regardless of what it is I think you’re interested in, there is a great way to persue that outside of the way you’ve been doing things for one to four years. So, I think listen to what younger people are saying when it comes to what they’re interested in, try to give some insight into that and pass on that insight that you have. And then, yeah, view all these new changes as an opportunity to upskill and to try something new really.
[0:14:24.7] Rob Hanna: Okay, now on the flip side, partners in law firms, you know, a lot of partners know what they’re doing and they’re used to what they’re doing and they’re not going to change it.
[0:14:33.7] Harry Clark: Yeah.
[0:14:35.9] Rob Hanna: Now, do you think there will be a time where that mindset shall we say will change and partners will necessarily buy into this because I think it is an ongoing debate about some people saying, “Well, that’s all well and good but I’ve got my practice, my book of business-
[0:14:51.7] Harry Clark: This is the way I do it.
[0:14:52.2] Rob Hanna: -and it’s worked just fine. I’m really not interested.” Versus actually the new wave of people who are saying, “You know actually this could really benefit us.” What would you say and how would you argue about that point?
[0:15:03.5] Harry Clark: Yeah, in all honesty, I think push will eventually come to shove and you kind of have to admit that all of the young lawyers now and the law students really are the future life blood of the firms and if they’ve got this new way of thinking and they’re really passionate about these types of values, the partners perhaps might have different ones on based on how they were raised and how they’ve come into the profession, that change will eventually come as a matter of time. I think law firms kind of have the responsibility now to understand where they think the future is going in terms of the profession and to genuinely consider how they can innovate and how they can change their business practices, rather than using it as some kind of marketing window dressing sort of thing. So, a lot of firms – I mean, I’ve heard, I was listening to a podcast the other day and a guy who works in the legal tech industry said that one of his clients who was a law firm paid for their services for two years but never enlisted their help because they simply wanted to say that, “We were doing this” on their website or something like that which to me just fascinated me. And in the other end of spectrum you’ve got firms saying that’re setting up their own incubators, they’ve got these new dedicated partners and kind of heads of the firm, dedicated to innovation and particularly on the tech side of things. So, in short, I think push will come to shove and eventually partners will either willingly or be forced to change their mind as the result of not just these new influences of tech but also just the new values and emphasis on work life balance and the ability to work remotely that younger people tend to favour. So, I think firms will eventually have to change really.
[0:16:27.7] Rob Hanna: And do you think through sort of legal design and that was something actually we had Electra Japonas, who is the founder of the Law Boutique who have an amazing podcast the other week about, just you know, let’s just simplify things. We have all these complex things, these legal operations, admittedly that’s more for in-house. It’s just amazing how we can over complicate the law and actually with tech, it’s actually there to simplify and provide messages to a client so they can understand it in very matter of fact basic form, right?
[0:16:54.3] Harry Clark: Yeah.
[0:16:55.6] Rob Hanna: And I find that quite fascinating. The other question I was really keen to get your view on is, there is no disguising the fact that you speak to a lot of junior associates now. What are their ambitions? Most of them say that they don’t want partnership because they look at the road path ahead of them from the years gone past and it does not excite them, if anything it scares them. It pushes them away, they’re not interested.
[0:17:15.7] Harry Clark: I think you’re absolutely right there. Partnership was always kind of historically viewed as where most lawyers wanted to end up but now there is a huge influx of new kind of opportunity. So, in counsel is one of them, you’re right but the introduction of these new alternate business models means that the big four are coming across and there’s new types of companies that’re in the legal industry now that there weren’t before. All of these new start-ups which primarily based in tech but not just that, access to law. There’re all kinds of opportunities now where lawyers don’t feel like they have to stay within that confined career really. To me it’s really exciting and the fact that firms have these kind of legal tech managers and dedicated innovation managers kind of to me signals that you don’t have to be practicing the letter of the law all the time. You can mix in that kind of commercial element and really innovate and contribute to the firm in a completely different way beyond the billable hour really.
[0:18:03.8] Rob Hanna: And the SQE, I think we have to talk about. I think it’s still grey but what are your views and where do you see, what do you see with that?
[0:18:13.6] Harry Clark: I mean, it’s not coming anytime soon I don’t think based on the response from law firms and kind of the reaction to the pilot. I did actually apply for that, but unfortunately didn’t get a place. I can see where they’re going with it and the emphasis on practical skills is really important. Personally, I’d like to see that emphasis actually take place earlier on in the kind of legal education timeline of a lawyer. So, how I studied law at York was a really unique way in the UK, it was through problem based learning which effectively meant that you are in a student law firm and you simulated the role of a lawyer through getting Emails from these kind of made up clients and you worked on that in the very similar way to a trainee or a lawyer might actually do and that was a huge emphasis on skills development and practicing things like interviewing, and negotiating and advocacy. Personally, I think it’s a great way to learn and I think if the SQE did come into fashion, sit in really nicely with the things it’s trying to achieve re: skills. So, yeah, personally I don’t think it’s coming anytime soon but I think the things it’s trying to do are admirable, but if anything, I would actually argue, you could probably do them in a different way in a law degree itself.
[0:19:12.8] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said, well said. And then on to – I promise you we would talk about it and I’m really excited to give you the platform to do so More From Law, your own podcast and a lot of people say to me, “Why the hell did you setup Legally Speaking Podcast? What’s the point?” And my view is, our firm Kissoon Carr is we’re a consultancy firm, we’re a legal consultancy firm, and support people with career decisions but we also need to provide people with good content and provide a service more than just what we do. So, our passion is to go above and beyond. More for law More From Law should I say. Tell us about that, why and what we’ve got lined up?
[0:19:47.2] Harry Clark: Yeah, so from my own personal point of view, it was kind of a natural extension of doing the blog and LinkedIn, all that sort of thing, but the sort of driving force behind the podcast was that the legal industry is huge and it’s incredibly diverse in all the different things that a lawyer could do that we’ve kind of previously touched on and for me, I wanted to view it as an opportunity for both aspiring and current legal professionals to broaden their understanding of what the industry is all about and to bring in these kind of industry specialists who have had these kind of really niche skills or understandings and interests. And to share them in a really accessible format which means that you could go away with some kind of actionable insight or learning to take from the episodes. I’ve got some really awesome guest lined up. So, quite a few based in the legal tech sector. Some to do with legal design, a few who are primarily based on sort of interviewing and skills negotiations. They run their own companies dedicated to teaching people how to do that. Even a few owners of law firms and how they go through that journey of wanting to setup their own firm and kind of differentiate from what most lawyers do in terms of joining one. So, I’m really, really excited to get working on it and I’m hoping that it will be of value to, not just kind of law students and those looking to join the profession, but those who are currently in it and looking for a new way to understand the industry and all the different things that are out there really.
[0:21:03.2] Rob Hanna: I think you’re absolutely right and there’s such a need for these sorts of podcasts to be out there and so, people should be as part of their daily routine, yes, reading is great, but get listening to podcasts, get listening to people in industry, sharing insights, upskilling yourself is one of the quickest, easiest, most, you know, commute and listen, right?
[0:21:20.6] Harry Clark: Yeah, absolutely. That’s what I do every morning.
[0:21:22.8] Rob Hanna: So, I’m definitely a big believer in all of that jazz. In terms of your journey, you’re going into Bakers. Do you know which area of law you wish to qualify in?
[0:21:33.4] Harry Clark: You’re going to put me on the record?
[0:21:34.6] Rob Hanna: Yeah.
[0:21:34.6] Harry Clark: In my interview I was saying that I was really interested in M&A and that was kind of my approach and I still am to some degree but since getting my offer and doing more reading and kind of getting more interested and really taking interest in the industry and what’s out there, I’m leaning more towards IP and tech and that kind of thing. I’ve actually got a call this Friday with the – it’s a funny story – I was on LinkedIn. I was trying to learn a bit more about their IP practice and what they were doing and I came across this guy called Ben on LinkedIn and sent him a message basically saying, “I’m a future trainee. Do you mind if I chat with you and ask some questions?” And he was like, “Yeah, sure.” And it was only when I closed the message and I looked at his actual profile, I realised he is the global head of that department. So, he runs like 80 offices all around the world. And I was like, oh, man, I really put my foot in it here. But no, he was thankful enough to get in touch with me and to kind of organise something where I can ask him some questions and talk more about it.
[0:22:23.6] Rob Hanna: But I think that links nicely to your point your point about if you approach people and you show that you really care, you’re dedicated, people will be amazed by the amount people want to help and give back. So, no, I think if anything, that’s quite a good case study of showing, you’re practicing what you preach and if you put yourself out there, good things will happen, right?
[0:22:38.7] Harry Clark: Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
[0:22:40.9] Rob Hanna: Okay, and why Bakers? Why did you choose Bakers?
[0:22:43.2] Harry Clark: Oh, man, I’m back in the interview room. So, I kind of went though this process of why did I wanted to be a lawyer and then when I figured that out, I was like, okay, why do I want to be a commercial lawyer and kind of figured that out through work experience and when I was answering that question through some work experience I was doing, I was able to have a go at some sort of international arbitration work. And to me the fact that I was sitting down with a contract in front of me, half of it in English, half of it in Russian trying to – It was to do with some printers’ dispute. It was the idea that I was sat in an office in London, and kind of working on things all around the globe which is fascinating to me and the kind of global context that that had, kind of sparked my interest in the international side of things in law. Bakers are an obvious choice for that in terms of the number of offices they had sort of around the world really. And then when it came to differentiating from kind of other international commercial firms, I really wanted to get that kind of sense of responsibility as soon as I started a training contract, so the small trainee intake was a real appeal to me. The idea that you kind of get responsibility and kind of go from the ground running in terms of the work you’re doing and then finally just the kind of culture and the kind of approach the firm has to work and its employees. They really do pride themselves on their kind of diverse and inclusive nature. It was the only firm I ever applied to where that was actually a question on their application form which to me signaled how much they valued it. So, yeah, essentially, I wanted to be working in a kind of international collaborative working environment that had great opportunities for their trainees to do secondments and get kind of real work from the get go. So, to me Bakers was the obvious choice really for those three reasons.
[0:24:11.7] Rob Hanna: Yeah, good stuff and one of the things I’m also keen to talk about which is a theme that we’re going along with just sort of the new wave of law. I think on your blog you talk about mobile law firms.
[0:24:21.4] Harry Clark: Yeah, that came up.
[0:24:22.6] Rob Hanna: And I think that’s really interesting as well particularly we talked about cloud-based technology and all the resources available. Where do you see the sort of the law firm movement in the next sort of five-ten years? I think, we’ve moved past just basic flexible working or agile working right? Like that’s just sort of years and years have gone. Where do you see this sort of mobile law firm?
[0:24:40.2] Harry Clark: Yeah, so one of the examples in that article was to do with a firm that actually has their own RV as a mobile office. You know, they drive out to clients and that was sort of fascinating to me whether we’ll see the equivalent of legal taxis or something like that, I very much doubt it, but no, you’re absolutely right when it comes to collaboration and kind of cloud-based working and the idea that not everyone has to be in the office at this time to complete a matter, law firms have kind of gone from traditionally doing everything obviously by hand then computers come along. Everyone’s relying on Word and now we’re starting these new kind of contract review systems and things like Google Drive was a huge revolution, the idea that you could kind of share and collaborate with others in real time and in the future, I think it’s just going to be an extension of that but in a way that’s much more simplified and if anything brings in other parties as well. So, the idea that you can draft and create an NDA agreement, for example, with the other party on other side of the line rather than having to make a review, send it by Email, wait two weeks, get it back, all going through that process. So, I think everything will be in much more real time and potentially with much more parties involved in a way which is hopefully going to make the whole process of doing legal business a lot more simple and not reliant of this kind of archaic Email system that has been kind of dragging the industry down in my eyes over the last 20 years and sort of over reliance on waiting to hear back from people and chasing up Emails and things, it just kind of baffles me but no, I think in the future, it will hopefully be much more collaborative and open and doing things in real time like I said.
[0:26:06.7] Rob Hanna: Yeah, exactly, and for you sort of 2020 is going to be a big year. Obviously, with studies and everything else but have you set yourself sort of goals? Obviously, the podcast just launched but this time sort of, you know, within a years’ time, do you have goals you’ve set?
[0:26:19.3] Harry Clark: I guess so. You know, come 2021 I’ll – touch wood – be graduated with the LPC and starting work at Bakers and you’re absolutely right, the podcast was just one of those kind of side projects I wanted to keep going. I’ve always loved the idea of writing some kind of book or handbook and kind of getting it down on paper. I had a quick go with a commercial awareness guide which I did in November which was really fun and it was really well received. So, something along those lines, another kind of creative outlook in a kind of much more final form either a book or some kind of big production like that would be great. And then, just generally to kind of enjoy and make the most year and to just see where those opportunities go. I don’t want to have too much of solid plan in place because so far, not really having one has actually kind of worked out well in terms of all these things that happen around you. So, yeah, a few ideas penciled in and in terms of creating things and what not but at the end of the day, I think it’s also good to kind of keep an open mind and to just see where opportunities go and to take them as and when they come up really.
[0:27:13.8] Rob Hanna: I think also people get really, you know we’ve had people write into us who are following podcast, “Well, you have all these inspirational people, they’re aspiring lawyers or they’re lawyers and they do all this stuff outside. Do they actually do down time?” And you know, what do you say to that because you do, it’s just about time management, effectively managing your time?
[0:27:30.4] Harry Clark: Oh, absolutely.
[0:27:31.8] Rob Hanna: Give some people some sort of I guess relief that it is possible to do all of this and also make sure you can allow time for family time, gym, whatever it might be.
[0:27:40.9] Harry Clark: Yes, yes, you are right. So, for me my Google calendar looks like a mess but I understand it. So, absolutely write down everything that you’re doing and you’re schedule in some format so that you don’t get too kind of lost in all these different types of commitments you might have, be it with your studies and then your work and then all these things you might be doing on the side. So, for me writing down what you are doing and getting a real plan for the next few weeks ahead is a great place to start because ultimately you don’t want to burn out. You don’t want to be so committed and over committed to doing things that you neglect your own health and you can’t do it. So, exercise like you said is really important. I’ve been meditating for about two years and I really love that and that’s been a great way to kind of relieve stress, but it’s whatever works for you.
[0:28:17.8] Rob Hanna: How can you meditate because there’s variations to this. So, people told me various different ways. So, what’s the Harry Clark Law meditation process?
[0:28:26.5] Harry Clark: I can’t say I’m offering a course in it.
[0:28:27.6] Rob Hanna: But it’s what works for you, right?
[0:28:29.9] Harry Clark: In two words yeah, absolutely, it’s what works for you but to me it’s just doing nothing. I think a lot of people have this pre-conception as to what it is and they feel like they need to really focus and sit down, give it some kind of attention and that if they’re not doing it right, then it’s not going to have the effect. In all honesty, it’s just about finding five-ten minutes of a day with no distractions and really no distractions. Setting down your phone and just finding a quiet place to sit or whilst you’re walking to work and just kind of allowing all of the thoughts that are going through your head to be there and not worrying that “Oh, no, I’ve just thought and I’m kind of fixated on this” or whatever. Just allow everything to happen and to kind of just experience everything what’s going around you. And to me, I find that really calming and it’s a great way to kind of settle nerves or deal with anxiety or to find a sense of motivation and the more you do it, the kind of better you get obviously and it’s the case of practice making perfect, but essentially, it’s just about doing nothing and to really kind of switch off from all of the constant distractions and kind of attention that your brain has to divert to throughout the day really.
[0:29:30.6] Rob Hanna: Good stuff. And before we wrap up because people who know me, I’m a bit of a sort of blockchain, I’m sort of crypto enthusiast. So, it’s great to finally have someone on here who can talk a little bit of the language. What do you think is a simple version, what do you think is a benefit of blockchain to legal industry?
[0:29:46.9] Harry Clark: Sure, so, in short I think – in theory anyway, blockchain provides a great source of security in terms of knowing that everything that you’re doing has been properly validated and there’s potential applications to reduce things like fraud, and to ensure that everything you’re doing is kind of verified in a way which doesn’t kind of put anything you are doing at risk is immense. How soon we’ll see that application to the industry, it is yet to be seen because obviously it’s in its very early stages. But, I think some of the biggest kind of potential upsides I’ve seen to it which is really interesting was actually to do with the IP side of things. So, the idea that rather than kind of making a piece of content or piece of music whatever and being reliant on these kind current systems of waiting for things to be – come up and then you go against and claim for and come on to prove things through documentation Instead a kind of blockchain based system where all of your content and your rights to that content and proof that you made it is stored in a way which is immutable which means it can’t be changed and is therefore kind of solid, concrete proof is a really exciting application. Obviously, it raises questions about things like data protection and the classic right to be forgotten that GDPR has put in place but for me anyway, I think it’s a really exciting opportunity and again, maybe it’s a matter of times to when it actually comes to fruition and it’s there but – and all of the kind of developmental things that people are doing right now are really, really interesting and it will be exciting to see where that’s all at in sort of 10-15 years’ time.
[0:31:13.3] Rob Hanna: Yeah, definitely – and I guess as we wrap up then it’s worth making people aware that all of your social media, it’s pretty easy to find you, right? It’s Harry Clark Law on Twitter, your Instagram, your Facebook. They could find you on your website as well, Harry Clark Law and obviously podcast coming out soon.
[0:31:31.6] Harry Clark: Yeah.
[0:31:31.2] Rob Hanna: Is there any sort of final messages you will give to people given that you’ve been through the journey that you think you’d like to imprint on people’s mind so they should be thinking about as a part the start of their legal career?
[0:31:41.1] Harry Clark: Sure, absolutely, whatever it is that you’re thinking of doing, just take that first step. So, when I wrote that first post back on LinkedIn five-six months ago, there was a huge part of me that was thinking, why am I doing this and why would I ever hit post? And looking back now, it’s incredible how that one decision to share just a few sentences about my experience of law, whatever it is that you’re doing, has culminated with being able to do things like this and to kind of see those opportunities happen. So, whatever it is your kind of considering, just give it a go and try it and put yourself out there and you never really know where you’ll end up at the end of it.
[0:32:13.8] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said. Well, listen, I sit here saying to you as a future trainee solicitor, I have no doubt I’ll be saying future partner, founder and host of the More From Law Podcast which is only going to be a massive success and all your bloggings and all your extracurricular stuff and everything you do for the legal industry. I think on behalf of everyone who kind of already subscribes to your content and the future new people it’s well worth checking Harry out. So, thanks so much coming on and sharing all your insights. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
[0:32:40.4] Harry Clark: It was great. Thanks, so much, Rob.
[Audio Ends] [0:32:42.9]