Career Stories | Venla Hokka, Office Support Trainee, Helsinki
4 April 2023
Hi Venla, how are you?
Hi there! I’m good, thank you. Looking forward to the upcoming summer.
You started your traineeship six months ago. How did you end up as an office support trainee at Hannes Snellman?
I wanted to work in a large Nordic business law firm and see what it’s like to work in a law firm nowadays. I applied for several positions in the Helsinki area and chose Hannes Snellman mainly because of its good reputation.
What was your first impression of Hannes Snellman?
My first impression of Hannes was that it is a very modern law firm with hard-working, gifted employees. I wasn’t sure if there would be a strong hierarchy and if people would, in a way, compete with each other. Fortunately, I soon discovered that that was not the case. Immediately after joining Hannes, I felt welcome and quickly became part of the working community.
How would you describe your normal workday? What kind of matters have you been handling?
My day usually starts by checking my emails and our task list for the day. Then usually one of us goes to our office’s cafeteria, where we have some snacks and fruits available for our staff, and fill up the supplies. Then I usually go to the grocery store. After our regular morning routines, it’s time for a morning coffee.
During the day I deliver documents and help with catering. We also substitute at the reception, where we book travel tickets for our staff and welcome guests. We also have our daily tasks, such as delivering mail and taking care of our office facilities. If our office is hosting an event, we also help organising that.
How would you describe working at a law firm to a fellow student?
Working at a law firm gives you a great opportunity to see how everyday life works at a law firm. It’s also motivating to get some content to the things we study at the university. I would highly recommend it to everyone.
Sometimes it can be hectic. Days are different, and they can be partly surprising with some unexpected tasks, but everything is manageable if you stay focused and ask for help if you don’t know how to solve the issue. We work as a team so it’s nice to be able to share the workload.
What has been the best and what has been the most challenging part of working as an office support trainee?
The atmosphere in our team is fun, and I enjoy my workdays. You also get to meet lawyers at different stages of their careers and to talk with them and share experiences about studies, courses, training cases, and different career options. Getting to know legal experts and seeing how they work has been really rewarding.
The most challenging part has probably been that sometimes things happen at a very short notice and you might have to improvise in order to get everything done on time, but that is also the part that makes the work interesting! No two days are alike.
How would you describe the Hannes culture?
Positive, supporting, and focused. We do things together here. I would also say that here at Hannes, you are given a great change to evolve as an employee and learn new things. Hannes also takes care of their staff, and we have all kinds of leisure activities.
Since office support trainees work part time, you have been also able to continue your studies at a normal pace at the University of Helsinki. What has it been like to combine school and work?
Our team is very supportive and flexible, and we plan our shifts ourselves, so I have been able to attend my lectures normally. Sometimes when I have a busy phase at school it can be challenging, but I have also learned to have mercy for myself.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I love hanging out with my friends and attending our student events. I also take horseback riding lessons at least once a week, and it is a wonderful way for me to clear my head.
What are your top three tips for future trainees?
Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Be involved. I would highly recommend participating in all kinds of activities at the office. It’s also an excellent way to get to know new people and to network. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. As a trainee you are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
One theme popping up in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask you what the things are that keep you going and motivated in your work — what is the purpose of your work?
I would say feeling connected to something that has bigger meaning and knowing that my work matters. Being able to help people and making their work easier is a big motivator to me. Also a big part of my work is learning, and I am enjoying it a lot.
FAVOURITE | Way of Commuting: Biking; Book: Tatu ja Patu, syömään!; Lunch: Eat Poke; Work Equipment: Dyson; Afternoon Routine: Coffee and chocolate; Mobile Application: Spotify; Relaxation Method: Running; Work Outfit: T-shirt and a blazer; Power Song: Kaija Koo, Supernaiset; Website: Disney +; Social Media Channel: Instagram; Drink: Nocco; Weekday: Friday; Leisure Activity: Hanging out with friends