What is an in-house Lawyer and Why to Become One? – Tom Haines – S5E4

This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Robert Hanna welcomes Tom Haines.

Tom is an in-house employment and labour lawyer, currently working as General Counsel at Jaguar Land Rover. He helps support the effective management of the workforce across multiple jurisdictions.

Alongside Tom’s impressive practice, he is also the Host of the popular legal podcast, ‘You’ve Been Served’, which offers practical advice to law students, law graduates and junior lawyers to help them build a successful legal career.

In this episode, Tom discusses the following:

  • How to get a career as an in-house lawyer and the evolving role of an in-house lawyer
  • The type of person and skill set suited for in-house law careers
  • The differences between employment and labour law
  • The inspiration behind his podcast ‘You’ve Been Served’

Show notes

Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn more about in-house lawyers and what their roles involve.What are the differences between employment and labour law?
  2. What are the differences between employment and labour law?
  3. Hear more about the podcast, ‘You’ve Been Served’.


Episode highlights:

Tom’s background:

  • Tom grew up in Devon.
  • He had no intention of doing law until he was 22.
  • He wanted to be a football manager and done a sports science degree.
  • He worked as a salesman selling security solutions.
  • He went on to do the GDL at the University of Birmingham.

How Tom got into an in-house career:

  • The material during the GDL was towards private practice firms.
  • There was an element of luck, by maximising opportunities.
  • Make sure people know who you are and network with the right people.
  • Tom has been in-house for 8 years.
  • He has also been on secondments.
  • 20% of solicitors in the UK are now in-house.

How is the role of an in-house lawyer evolving?:

  • An in-house role is a specialism in its own right.
  • A different skill set is required.
  • Legal business partnering is about working alongside another team. This is how the in-house role is evolving.
  • It is about supporting people from the beginning till the end.
  • This involves providing legal advice, explaining how to implement it and then explaining what actions are needed.

Highlights of Tom’s career:

  • Tom had 3 key moments in his career:
  • Asking to join the employment team.
  • When the business were looking for a dedicated solicitor in the employment team.
  • When Tom’s predecessor decided to leave her role and it was vacant.
  • He put a business case together and put it forward.
  • The business took Tom’s case into consideration.
  • Talking to a lot of people is part of the employment role.
  • Something which stands out for Tom is collaborating with HR professional and working towards a joint goal.

The skill set needed for an in-house career:

  • Willing to collaborate.
  • Interested in people-related initiatives and tasks.
  • Rapport building skills – gaining the trust of the people you work with.
  • Building relationships and partnerships.
  • Be willing to get your hands dirty.
  • Being pragmatic and solution driven.

The advantages of training and staying in-house compared to a traditional route:

  • Able to complete the seats desired, without competition.
  • Being the only trainee.
  • Getting a huge amount of experience.
  • In-house employers need to clarify the structure that they offer.
  • Educational bodies need to acknowledge 20% of lawyers are now in-house and amend their pitches accordingly.
  • In-house roles need to put an onus on delivering training contracts.

How we can work together to increase accessibility within in-house roles:

  • In-house roles need to be more structured.
  • Ensure trainees are given the best chance possible with the best foundation.
  • Increase the content about in-house roles and in-house lawyers.

The differences between employment and labour law:

  • From an employment perspective, the focus is on employees directly employed by a business.
  • Labour is wider and encompasses the border into human resources.
  • Labour includes resourcing – agency contractor, immigration and tax.

In-house employment law:

  • More integration with private brands.
  • Supporting HR.
  • Looking at different policies, its impact and solving problem arising from the policies.
  • Supporting project management on solutions, within the business.

‘You’ve Been Served’ Podcast:

  • Reaching out to people interested in the in-house practice.
  • Wanting to help and educate others.
  • The podcast is a good way to reach more people and share information.
  • Collaborating with guests – panel discussions with students.
  • Building a mentoring relationship.
  • The podcast is a mechanism to help junior lawyers to get to where they want to be.

5 powerful quotes from this episode:

  1. “Don’t assume people know what you want… you need to justify why it’s a good idea and go from there”.
  2. “We want to make sure they’re give the best chance possible with the best foundation for them to be successful on fly”.
  3. “So making sure that people know who you are, and networking with the right people”.
  4. “I think everybody needs a little bit of luck to get to where they need to be. But you need to generate that luck”.
  5. “…you got to be willing to, and whether this is a skill set or more of an attitude point, you’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty…”.

If you wish to connect with Tom, you may reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.


 00:00 Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by Tom Haines. Tom is an in house employment and labor lawyer, currently working as general counsel at Jaguar Land Rover. He helps support the effective management of the workforce across multiple jurisdictions. Alongside Tom’s impressive practice. He’s also the host of the popular legal podcast, you’ve been served, which offers practical advice to law students, law graduates, and junior lawyers to help them build a successful legal career. So a very, very warm welcome, Tom.

00:38 Tom Haines:

Thank you very much, Robert. I feel like I need to hire you so that you can introduce me as I enter a room. Is that possible or not?

00:46 Rob Hanna:

Yes, why not? Why not? It’s, it’s it’s really expensive, though. Just a heads up. Yeah, we’ll negotiate a deal. But before we dive into all the amazing stuff that you have done and your legal experiences to date, we do have a customary open question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?

01:14 Tom Haines:

So I’ve, I’ve been expecting this one, because I am an avid listener, as I’ve said, so I think some of your guests give him a bit of a hard time. So I’m gonna go with, like the average scores about a three, isn’t it? So I’m gonna go for a solid seven, I would say. And the justification really is I think we’ve got to give them a bit of credit. They’ve done a bit of research. It looks it feels like a law firm. The rates are about right on the extortionate rates. Yeah, you know, they’re wearing suits that look smart. There’s a bit of law in there. I identify with Mike a little bit as well, because I do feel my background is sports and exercise science. So I do feel particularly in early stage of my career is a bit of imposter in the legal industry. So maybe bumping up a few marks for that. But let’s be a bit different. We’ll go for a seven. Rob, we’ll go for it.

01:56 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I love that a bit of positivity. Let’s get it above five. So yeah, we will stick with a seven, you’ve justified your answer very, very well. So, let’s start at the beginning as we like to with all of our guests. Tom, tell us a bit about your family background and upbringing.

02:10 Tom Haines:

Yeah, so I had a very tranquil upbringing, if, if that’s the appropriate word to use, I grew up in Devon, by the coast, very kind of slow-paced life. Very, very nice place to grow up. Certainly. I stayed there until I came to university. Now, I will admit, I had no intention of doing law whatsoever. I don’t know whether this will inspire or, or deter your listeners. But I had absolutely no intention of doing law till I was about 22. I wanted to be a football manager, of course, as who else wouldn’t want to be a football manager had to be doing sports science, and what have you. So, I went to the University and did my sports science degree. And then I went out into the wonderful world of work, and worked as a salesman selling security solutions up or down the country. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of recession. So I Yes, it’s exactly now only if I’d spoken to you in advance, Rob, you could have saved me a year worth of pain. That didn’t end very well. So at the age of 22 is the first time that I thought oh, okay, well, maybe I could try this law thing out and went to do the GDL. I signed up to the GDL two weeks before it started at the University of Birmingham and took from there but my background actually we have no lawyers in my family but strangely enough I’m now obviously a qualified lawyer. And my sister is also a qualified lawyer in a large law firm in Birmingham. So, I don’t know how that’s happened but it but it has so maybe it’s some Devon err I have no idea but there you go.

03:48 Rob Hanna:

Well, there you go. Yeah, trendsetters for the family starting the next generation of legal talent through hey, now that’s good to hear. Exactly, Devon I used to go down there but then I always used to get down to Cornwall so were you one of these people it was very very it’s Devon and we hate Cornwall or are you one of these people that you know accepting or both?

04:06 Tom Haines:

Given your listenership? I should probably be quite measured in my response here. So you know, we do get a lot of I know where Devon is, yes, it’s at the end of the M five and then we just go straight on to Turo, which is a little bit demoralizing. In the grand scheme of things. There’s some lovely not I work for the Devon tourist board, but it’s a lovely locations down there that I’d strongly recommend visiting. I,I’m indifferent towards Cornwall. Is that that is my legal response to that question.

04:39 Rob Hanna:

We go there we go. Well, let’s stick with legal there because how did you get into a career in house and what inspired you to complete your training contract in house at Jaguar Land Rover?

04:52 Tom Haines:

Yeah, it’s a great question. It links actually, Rob, into lots of things that I do the main which I’m sure we’ll come to but it You know, the first time I thought about law as a career was, as I say, at the age of 22, and I went into the Graduate Diploma in law to get the conversion course. And all of the material, all of the messaging is channeling you towards private practice firms. And that that was the direction I was heading, I made all of the training contract applications that you would expect. And it was just by chance, frankly, that I ended up in an in-house setting. And it turns out actually that an in house setting is much better suited to my skill set than a pro practicing would be anyway. But that was only by chance. And it was actually a chance encounter between my tutor and my then boss at a Christmas party. So unfortunately, when students come to me, okay, so Tom, how did you get into in house? What did you do, I was like, well, you need to manufacture a situation where your tutor is speaking to an employer about you, now, very difficult to do, obviously. But what I do say is, you know, there’s an element of luck in that, I think everybody needs a little bit of luck to kind of get to where they need to be. But you need to the way you generate that luck is by maximizing your opportunities. So making sure that people know who you are, and networking with the right people, obviously, I’d spoken to my tutor, chap called Paul McConnell, who’s very well known in Birmingham for placing people through numerous placements. But so my, my in house journey, I suppose, started purely by chance. But once I’ve got in there, and I’ve been in house now for eight years, pretty much my whole career, but apart from a couple of reverse secondments I had the other way, as I say, really suits my skill set, it’s completely different worlds. And unfortunately, and I say we may touch upon it later, it just, it’s not given enough coverage. So, I’m glad you invited me on because it’s just not given enough coverage in the amount of students I speak to and they say, the only person I’ve heard speak about in house is either you when I’ve come to do a talk at a university or something like that, or the likes of Emma Lilly or Holly Moore on Instagram and things like that. But there’s very little information out there, particularly through the kind of mainstream channels. So, something that I’ve certainly tried to address because 20% of all solicitors in the UK, I’ve done my stats before I come on here Rob, 20% of solictors in the UK are now in house, yet there is not 20% of all material is channeled at students going into an in-house environment, I suppose.

07:22 Rob Hannah:

That’s very, very true. And I think it’s wonderful that you are, you know, raising awareness, you know, in educating people and I know you are exceptionally passionate about in house, which is wonderful. And how is the role of an in house role lawyer evolving? And how far off is it where you’d like to see it? So I know you’ve got grand aspirations for transformation in terms of all things in house.

07:43 Tom Haines:

Yeah, the grand aspirations is a lovely way of putting it some people may say deluded Rob, but we will go with grand aspirations. So it is I believe that an in house role is a specialism in its own right. And the reason I believe that is from many years of well, you know, the last eight years that I’ve been in, I’ve seen many solicitors come in and either get it. So they’ve come from a private practice where they either get it or they don’t get it. And so it’s a completely different skill set that’s required. And to flip it on its head, that’s no criticism towards my private practice counterparts. If you put me in a private practice law firm, I wouldn’t last very long if we are being very honest because it’s completely different role and to, to say you’re an in house lawyer, so you’re just a solicitor that works for a company is, in my opinion, a bit of a lazy definition. And so the way I see it evolving, and this is not a term that I hear very often, Rob, but I think we should talk about it more is what I call legal business partnering. So the idea of business partnering about working alongside another team is well accepted in finance, HR, all of these other kind of more well developed support functions. But when it comes to legal, we still, for whatever reason, want to be a bit more arm’s length, we’ll go look, we’ll give you the advice, we might help you but we don’t really want to get involved in that commercial bit. Now, for me, legal business partnering, and this is how the in house role is evolving, is you actually support people from an end to end so all the way through the solution. So you provide the legal advice, you explain how you implement it, because that’s key. You then explain exactly what actions are needed. You need to have a meeting, you need to write a letter, you need to contact this governing body, what have you, and then the most important thing is feeding back. And so feeding back looping that background say right, we did it this way, this time. Next time, we’re going to do it better, but X, Y and Z reason and going through that as a business partner sitting alongside what a product development team and engineering team or what have you, you can really add some value, add value that maybe private practice lawyers can’t because they fall victim to the system because they never actually asked that these different stages to get involved. So that’s the way I see it developing. That’s certainly how I try and operate you know Hopefully, if you were to speak to people I work with, they would agree. But luckily, they’re not on this podcast, Rob. But I think that’s the way I see it evolving. As people come into the business, I work with a lot of, you know, secondees and speak to a lot of other in house, people, through networking events, etc, that I that I hold. That’s the kind of ethos that I try and put across. And I say this, we need to be adding value all the way along the chain, not just that the start to say, this is the legal advice. And therefore we take in that direction, because the legal advice could change as you go through that process. So that’s how I see it evolving. We’re not really there yet. Because the educational bodies don’t necessarily teach us in that way. I was still taught in a, you know, GDL LPC way all the way through, and I think there needs to be some dedicated, you got to go in in house for it. So we get training contract in house, and it wouldn’t be great on the LP or now, LPC are now part of the SQE, where you actually get in house dedicated training, to because it’s a completely different skill set. It’s completely different skill set.

11:02 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think you make some valuable points. So I’m sticking with grand aspirations because I definitely think it’s it’s there’s more than that then definitely deluded. And, you know, I mentioned in the intro, you are you’re our general counsel. And you know, that doesn’t happen overnight. You know, it takes a lot of hard work. So can you just give us some of the highlights of what it’s taken to get there? And then what a day in the life currently looks like for you as in house in that role?

11:23 Tom Haines:

Yeah, well you say that it didn’t happen overnight, Robbie? But actually, it did. I have this. And I say this to any of the students I speak to when I do any talks are everything. And if you don’t get you don’t, you don’t ask you don’t get you don’t say too fast. If you don’t ask you don’t get. And that’s essentially what I did. There was there’s three, I had three kind of sliding door moments in my career. One when I asked to join the employment team, with my predecessor, the next when they were looking for a dedicated solicitor in that team, and then finally, when my predecessor decided to leave her role, and it was it was vacant. And so I basically put together a justification, you know, a business case and put it forward. And you know, the business were fantastic and open minded enough to take that on board. To put it into context. I was not one year qualified when I took the General Counsel role. So, you know, and that on paper is absurd. I acknowledged that. But, you know, the business acknowledged that I had a lot of experience prior to that. And therefore, you know, they were very open minded. And as I say, I’m still here today. So, so yeah, it did, it did sort of happen overnight. But I stand by that, and lots of lots of people that I’ve spoken to about the progression, you know, you’ve got to put it out there as to what you want. Don’t assume people know what you want. Because they don’t you need to explain it. And you need to justify why it’s a good idea and go from there. So that’s kind of how I got to where I am in terms of my day-to-day life. That’s, that’s a difficult question to answer. I know, this is the standard answer that it’s just weird and wonderful. But one of the things I suppose that stands out from an employment role is that you get to talk to a lot of people. And I would, you know, no offense to my commercial friends. But if I had to sit there all-day drafting contracts, I would probably fall asleep, if I’m being honest, I’m not great for staying awake at the best of times. So but you know, employment, you get to talk to people, I love working with the kind of the internal clients that have at the moment, or I should say, internal partners, to my business partner in point. And, yeah, it’s great picking up the phone, solving problems, looking at that end to end solution, you know, all of the things that you could, you know, in terms of employment, there’s a wide kind of breadth of things that you can look at, clearly, but one of the things really stands out for me in the role is collaborating with HR professionals and working towards a kind of joint goal. And as you can tell, Rob, I really like to talk. So I do that quite a lot all day, until I get muted on one of our team calls.

14:14 Rob Hanna:

So good stuff, though. And I think you raised some really, really valuable points there. And, you know, I love the whole point of, you know, you don’t ask don’t get and the importance of communication, you know, you’ve got to be able to communicate upwards as well as sidewards and downwards. And you know, that 360 communication is so, so important. And you know, you’re in charge of your career, if it’s meant to be it’s up to me, you have to take accountability, you got to ask the question. So I just love that really good advice for people tuning in. So as you are involved in helping trainees who are interested in in house law careers, what type of person and skill set do you think is best suited to that role? And as an extension, what would you say are the advantages of training and staying in house versus compared to the traditional route? Because as you say, there’s not a lot out there.

14:57 Tom Haines:

Yeah, yeah, the skill set is a good point, I think one of the one of the main things, you’ve got to be willing to collaborate, you’ve got to be, you’ve got to be a people person I appreciate. I’m an employment solicitor, and therefore, we’re always deemed people, people, if that’s the right phrase, and we always get lumbered with all of the people related initiatives and tasks, but you really do need to, you need to be, you know, fantastic rapport building skills, because the key is in an in house setting is you need to gain the trust of the people that you’re working with, they need to trust you to be able to come to you back to my point about all the way along that that kind of end to end process, they need to go right. Well, we’ve got a problem here, who should we go to? Oh, yeah, let’s go and speak to Tom. So it’s really good about building those relationships and building those partnerships. So that’s one of the things certainly, another thing that I explained is you got to be willing to, and whether this is a skill set or more of an attitude point, you’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty, Rob in the sense that you’ve got to be willing to, for example, if something needs to be done, like photocopying, and I’m the only person there, then I’m going to do it for the better, but you know, for the good of the business, or whatever, what have you needs to be done. And so there needs to be more of a kind of an attitude point, then a willingness to scrap in and that’s something that we kind of, I outline very early on, when when people come in, come and join us, certainly. So those, those two, that the attitude point, and then the collaboration piece, a very, very key, you need to be very solution based as well. So it’s not just the case of, you know, I will admit, I’m not the most technical of lawyers in the grand scheme of things. But I’m I what I feel I’m good at is convert interpreting that law and then make bringing us a solution, a practical solution, which I could give to the business, and then that allows them to achieve what they want to achieve. So I think it lends itself to people that are quite pragmatic, and solution driven, and can kind of see a process from A to B to get to where they want to be rather than highly technical and very impressed by people that are very highly technical, in terms of law, you know, barristers and things like that. But that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to that, that in house environments. So from a skill set perspective. So yeah, that’s certainly I will admit, Rob, I’ve got off on a tangent and forgotten the second part, the question?

17:26 Rob Hanna:

Well, I think you actually gave a detailed response. So good for you. I was going to add to that just near the advantages of training and staying in house compared to maybe a more traditional route. Yeah, sales pitch?

17:38 Tom Haines:

Yes, yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what it’s it’s there’s a number of issues with it. At this stage, which I’d love to be able to address or help address, so firstly, in house, employers on the in house side of things need to get more structured, there is no structure to what they offer. And so what I actually see is lots of the opportunities come about on LinkedIn. And that that’s not good enough, from a structure perspective, we should have, you know, for example, law careers dotnet, we should have a similar type of right, this business, does their training contract this stage, this business does the training contract at that stage. So that is a major issue. I’ve already mentioned, the educational piece would be great if educational bodies notice that 20% of all lawyers are now in house and actually amend their pitches accordingly. If you see what I mean, I would, I am a supporter of an in house training contract, I had a very, very good training contract myself, or what I would say is that you have you have a lot of flexibility, but a lot of a lot of the onus is put on to you to deliver the training contract. So but I was basically allowed, you know, given the flexibility to structure that in any way I saw fit. And so that sounds great. And I got to do all the seats that I wanted, I didn’t have to compete with anybody. I was the only trainee. So you know, it was fantastic. I’ve got a huge amount of experience from that, which was great. I would have a word of warning given the state of play at the moment. You know, I do speak to people where they say, I’ve got an in house training contract, there’s no structure, and I’m not given any flexibility to do anything about it. And that that that is you know, that if you are being offered in house training contracts, I really dig deep into say, right, so what does the structure like? What my seats like? Do I get reversed a secondment to private practice? I do think if you want to work in house, ultimately, I think you’re better off in the long run starting in house. I know the standard practice at the moment is go to private practice and come across. But sometimes depending on how long you’ve been there may be difficult to adapt. So I am strong believer in that. But at the moment, I think it’s not the you know, there are issues with it. Because there’s no structure network, there’s limited structure and certain employers do it better than others. If you see what I mean, this is my view from what I’ve heard, so.

19:51 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, no, I really like the fact that you’re laboring the point on structure to hopefully people listening in who maybe do have in house teams at the moment that are looking at going Yeah, maybe we do need to get our act together and be more structured. So it’s a really valuable point, because people’s careers at the end of the day, we want to make sure they’re given the best chance possible with the best foundations for them to be successful on fly. And you’ve touched on a few points already. But I’d want to dig a bit deeper in terms of how can we increase the accessibility for people to train in house, you know, we’ve mentioned as a severe lack of content and you know, that 20% stat, which I’m going to be verifying after this, just to make sure we’re bang on. But you know, what, what other things do you think we you would chuck out to people to get them thinking about how we can all work together to increase that accessibility?

20:33 Tom Haines:

Yeah, it’s a great question. You know, I’ve touched upon the kind of the different pillars, the educational piece, and the, and the employer piece, that is being acknowledgement from the employers that actually they do employ a lot of legal professionals, and therefore, they need to have some kind of structure in place like the law firms, if you see what I mean. In terms of accessibility, there needs at the very least, we need to bring together a definitive list, if it’s UK only fine, of the opportunities that are out there, and then hopefully, help, but be it the law firms will be at the educational bodies, working with the in house teams, because there’s benefit to doing that clearly, to help them structure their particular training contracts. And not only that, because all of us get very bogged down, don’t we Rob, in the sense of I’ve got a training contract. And that’s the end, that’s not the case, you qualify, and then you have to work a solicitor for 30 years. So we need to also work in an in house setting as well to develop that kind of ongoing development structure to make sure that that that’s there. But at the very least, we just need to it can’t be that difficult to collate all of that information in one place so that students know exactly where they need to go to find the opportunities, and then build from that foundation upwards. I haven’t come across that as yet not a definitive list. I’ve certainly seen people collate certain groupings, but not a definitive list, like law careers, obviously offers for the private practice world.

22:00 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, and let’s make it happen. You know, if you’re listening and got ideas, you know, Tom’s open to collaboration suggestions. Like I think it’s a super important topic. Let’s, let’s do that. And you’ve touched on your your practice, you know, you’re focused on employment and labor law. And so, you know, what are the key differences between employment versus labor law? And, you know, again, just give us a bit of an insight into the general practice?

22:23 Tom Haines:

Yeah, well, funnily enough, Rob, you gave me a heads up about this question. And when you asked me on Friday, I nodded and said, Hmm, yeah. Yeah, I know the answer that question, but actually, I didn’t. So I’ve gone away. And I’ve researched it. To be fair, I had never really thought about it or be it that I didn’t know what the answer the question was. Yeah. So from an employment perspective, you’re looking at employees and employees alone directly employed by business. Okay. Whereas labor is more wide, more broad in the sense that you’re looking at how are you, it almost crosses the border into human resources? Slightly, how are you resourcing? So agency contractors, and there’s other elements that come into there, as well in terms of immigration and tax that come into the labor side of things more often than not, so that that’s the kind of, that’s the key differential. And I appreciate maybe I should have been known that given it’s in my job title. I didn’t know it. I just hadn’t really thought about it for as I said, but that essentially is a key point. I’m glad you raised it, Rob, is because what you say is when you say I’m an employment solicitor, people will go, Oh, okay. So you kind of deal with employees, but it’s much, far, much further reaching than that. And this job title has been passed down to me. And I imagine originally, it came about because of the kind of wide scope of work that we would get involved with covering all of those particular, particular issues. And we do touch upon all of those those different elements rather than just, you know, you deal with employees as an employment solicitor. So I’m glad you raised it. And now I know. Thank you very much, Rob.

24:01 Rob Hanna:

There we go. There we go. Well, thank you for clarifying. And I guess following on from that, then how does employment work? You do in house differ from that who may be doing employment work in private practice?

24:16 Tom Haines:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So I think that employment actually lends itself a little bit more to there being a bit of a blend. I know I’ve kind of said private practice, lawyers will operate a particular way. And in house lawyers operate a different, different way. Employment is actually a little bit more flexible in that so that because there is almost a little bit more integration with private brands, law firms that work with businesses that only have HR rather than in house employment counsel, they all know there’s already a bit of a blurring of the line there of how they support the HR team. So there’s a little bit like that, but if we were getting strictly down to it, what would happen in practice is, you know, a private practice law would give me a very definitive piece of advice on something, be it the, you know, bit of case law from the tribunal or something like that. And then I would take that into the business and look to interpret that, and I might look at doing, you know, training around that I may look at the different policies and how that impacts that or, you know, look to solve a problem that has arisen as a as a result of that. So, I’m much more, less time researching and more time working, and almost, almost supporting on project management of solutions within the business. And again, that goes my voice, completely different skill set, I’m, I very rarely sit down and do a bit of research on a bit of case law or what have you. That’s kind of the information. It’s coming to me from there. And then I’ll go out and support that facilitate almost that legally, across the business, if that makes sense.

25:56 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think that’s a wonderful kind of differentiating and explanation. So thanks so much for going into that amount of detail. So we’re on a podcast, but in March of this year, you started your own podcast called ‘You’ve been served’, which is excellent. And you’ve not only spoken about your own career and how you got on there, but you’ve also had a range of guests from different special realities. What made you start this podcast?

26:23 Tom Haines:

I was inspired Rob by this other podcast called ‘The Legally Speaking Podcast’. I, so I want to I want to help generally, I was, I did listen to your podcast before I started mine, I like to point that I think I’ve already admitted that he wrote to be fair, but I want to help. And so I want to reach out to people that are interested in house practice, I want to reach out to, you know, I didn’t necessarily have all the information when I was coming through when I was that naive sports science graduate, and going off to get a job in law easily, apparently not. So, you know, I really want to help people, I do a lot of lot of mentoring, through certain means through my old university, and what have you. And so it just about what I always felt is I’m not reaching enough people with this information. And so, as I said, I like to talk, I thought a podcast was a good way to reach more people and give people some information. You know, a number of people have contacted me and said, you know, thank you very much for this piece, I had no idea about this bit of in house, for example, or this alternative route into law or things like that. And actually, it’s a good way to not only get the message out there, but some of the guests that I have on talk to them as well, and see whether we can either collaborate or see whether I can help them because we’ve have these panel discussions with students and things like that. And that spawns more mentoring relationships as well. So it was really a mechanism or a tool to help junior lawyers help aspiring lawyers to get to where they want to be. Because ultimately, when I’m gone, someone needs to come and take my place, don’t they? So and if we’ve, if we’ve passed on our kind of wisdom or guidance to them, then there’ll be in a much better place than everybody else and I am at this stage if you saw me so that’s, that’s where it was born out of. Also as well. I just thought you’re hogging the limelight, Rob, and I wanted some of your listeners.

28:30 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And I always say to people, everyone says all these all these neat legal podcast popped up and I’m like, good, there’s a space for everyone. You know, and what’s great about YouTube as well, you found a niche, you know, where there is a distinct lack. So if anyone’s thinking of, you know, starting a podcast, be that legal, otherwise think where there’s a pain point or where there’s a lack of content. And you know, there’s got to be an audience. So I encourage lots of people, I think the podcasting community is a brilliant one. And so I strongly urge people to do it. And I think definitely check out ‘you’ve been served’ podcast, it is highly informative, and there’s lots of rich content on there. And, Tom, you’ve talked a lot about what you do give back to the next generation, tons of legal talent in terms of giving back through mentorship through your podcast, you know, is there anything else that you do or anything else that you’re passionate about when giving back to the next generation of legal talent, you’d want to kind of make people aware or projects that you have on the horizon?

29:20 Tom Haines:

Yeah, so I, something I’ve set up quite recently, actually, it became apparent to me back to your point about pains. And this may surprise lots of people. There doesn’t seem to be any networking opportunities for junior in house lawyers. And so, I get a lot of junior in h ouse lawyers coming to me trainees, you know, paralegals as well coming to me and saying, asking me a numerous questions about progression. Best practice. You know, I’ve had questions around what’s best practice in terms of note taking in house and I know that seems really odd question, but actually, there’s there’s a huge amount of things that spawn off that because we’re not in a position to do what a private practice law firm would be able to do so well. What is best practice in those scenarios? So, in the last few months, actually, I’ve put together a networking group, an in house mastermind, as I call it, which meets on a on a monthly basis, and it’s from trainee level up to five years PQE. And we use that as basically a platform, we have a hot seat section where people bring issues to the table, and we try and figure out what best practices, but it just, you know, never really dawned upon me until I thought about it. And they go, No, there isn’t really a platform here, I think maybe I was. I was getting invited to things. And from an employment perspective, because I’d accelerated up the chain to the speed that I had. But actually, if you think about it, people trainee level weren’t necessarily get invited to the law firms do networking events, and things like that. So I wanted to have something that wasn’t, I wasn’t trying to sell anything at all. I just wanted to share ideas, obviously, in a confidential, confidential manner. And so yeah, if anybody is listening, that, you know, is an in house junior lawyer that feels that they need that type of support, or would like to come and share ideas with that group, then please do let me know, contact me on LinkedIn, and we can get you in involved in that. Certainly, so. So that’s my pet project at the moment, which seems to be seems to be going very well.

31:18 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. And, you know, wish, lots of continued success. And you know, you lead up very nicely. So I was going to say, if people want to, to follow or get in touch with you about anything we’ve discussed today, what is the best way for them to do that? Is it LinkedIn, feel free also to shout out any web links or other relevant social media, and we’ll also make sure we share them with this episode for you as well.

31:37 Tom Haines:

Thank you, Rob. And so LinkedIn is definitely the best way to get hold of me. Certainly, I would like to say that I am on a numerous social media platforms, and I am. But I’m nowhere near as prolific as other individuals. So if you want to contact me, I, you know, I’m more. I’m here to help. Basically, I’m more than happy to speak to people and help them particularly with things like you know, in house related things in house progression in house best practice and discuss these things through, particularly also students as well who don’t know what in house is, I get a lot of that, and they go, I have no idea what you do. So, so yeah, you know, please do contact me on LinkedIn, that would certainly be the best way to get hold of me. I do I set time aside to make sure that I respond to every message. However, depending on if I get 1000 messages, I may need to change that policy. But I will do my best to get back to you. But that is certainly the best way to get hold of hold on me, Rob. Yes.

32:36 Rob Hanna:

Brilliant. Well, thank you so much, Tom. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. We’ve loved every minute of it. Wishing you lots of continued success not only of your own legal career, but also your mission for all things in house but from all of us on the ladies being podcast over and out.

32:52 Tom Haines:

Thank you very much Rob. I can take this off my bucket list now.

32:56 Rob Hanna:

Thanks again.

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