Get to Know Us | Anna Hautamäki, Krister Kojo & Salla Hiltunen, Legal Assistant Trainees, Helsinki
16 September 2020
Anna Hautamäki and Salla Hiltunen have been working as legal assistant trainees at Hannes Snellman’s Helsinki office since May 2020, and Kirster Kojo joined the legal assistant trainee team in August 2020. We asked them a few questions about working in a law firm as legal assistant trainees.
Hi Anna, Salla, and Krister, how was your summer?
Anna: My summer was great, thank you! During the summer, I had the opportunity to work in several teams and get to know and work with many colleagues in close co-operation. Because of this, I have also had the possibility to work with a variety of different tasks, and it has been exciting and educational!
Since this summer gave us all the opportunity to work from home a lot, I made the best of it and spent a lot of time outside — sometimes before and sometimes after work. One could say that the nearby woods and nature became familiar to both me and my dog. This also ensured a nice balance between work and personal life.
Salla: My summer was great too, thanks! Workwise, it was interesting since I got the chance to substitute for a few legal assistants during their vacations. Summer at the (home) office was not too quiet at all and I learned a lot of new things.
In my free time, I played beach volley at Hietsu Beach, took long walks, and spent time with my family and friends.
Krister: Hi, thanks for asking. For me, this summer was one of a kind. I finished my exchange studies in June, and I was ready to enjoy my vacation and wait for my traineeship to start. Suddenly something happened, and I started working as a sports instructor in July and worked until I started my traineeship here at Hannes Snellman. I have to say that the change from sports instructor to legal assistant trainee was quite an interesting experience, because they are completely different worlds.
I am grateful that in my first two weeks at Hannes Snellman, despite the pandemic and the restrictions, I was given the opportunity to work in the office. I received a lot of different tasks to complete and I enjoyed the challenges in them. Overall, the first two weeks have been great!
In the summer during my spare time, I enjoyed my life with friends and family. I spent a lot of time wakeboarding and doing different outdoor sports, such as playing Spikeball.
Could you please tell us a bit about your background?
Anna: With an interest in humane aspects of life, it was an easy choice for me to study language, pedagogy, and psychology. I received my master’s degree from Åbo Akademi University this summer and plan to advance my studies further in social psychology. Working with people has always been something that I have really enjoyed, so my choices in both education and career have felt really natural for me.
Salla: I am studying for a bachelor’s degree in business studies and modern languages for management assistants at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Before these studies, I lived around Europe for several years and worked as a tour guide and customer service representative for different travel agencies and as a ski instructor in Austria. I am also a sports instructor and a personal trainer by previous profession.
Krister: I am studying organisational development and leadership at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and I spent last semester on exchange in Vienna at FHWien of WKW. After my first business law course, I knew that this is my cup of tea and so I took all the law courses that were available for my minor studies. No need to say that I am interested in law. I have also worked in various fields, from sports instructor to restaurant manager. Overall, I have been really satisfied with the choices I have made regarding my work experience and studies. I have met all kinds of people and worked in different positions.
How did you end up applying for a trainee position at Hannes Snellman?
Anna: This was a great opportunity to both experience and contribute to the people-oriented side of the private sector. I believe in doing things well, and Hannes Snellman appeared to be a company that would provide a great view to producing quality with people and for the people. I feel that law and legal matters are all generally about people, organisations, and their interaction with one another.
Salla: Many law firms are recruiting legal assistant trainees from my study programme, and they come to our school to present themselves, so you get familiar with the biggest sharks in the law firm tank. I was impressed by how well the trainee programmes were presented on the Hannes Snellman website, and it gave me an instant feeling that the trainees are really appreciated and well taken care of. Law firms provide a challenging working environment, so I figured I would learn a lot as a legal assistant trainee.
Krister: In the second year of my studies, we organised a “Doing Business in the EU” law week for students from all around the Europe, and during that week, we had an excursion to Hannes Snellman. We got the privilege to learn from the experienced professionals about interesting topics. During the excursion, my interest in Hannes Snellman arose, and I started to search more information about it. I found that they are looking for a legal assistant trainee and so I decided to apply for the position. I wanted to get an internship where I would learn as much as possible, and so far, it seems that I have hit the spot!
How would you describe your trainee experience at Hannes Snellman?
Anna: These months at Hannes Snellman have been a lot of fun and very exciting, not only because the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, but also because I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about this industry and to work with tasks that have been challenging in a positive way.
Salla: The atmosphere has been really welcoming and supportive since day one. My gut feeling about being appreciated as a trainee was right on point. You have a tutor and a dozen other colleagues making sure you are doing well, learning new, and getting enough challenge and support. They also trust you to try new things independently and answer you in a split second if you face a problem. Needless to say that I am very happy about my trainee period so far.
Krister: I agree with Anna and Salla. I received a warm and friendly welcome from the very first day. Even though most of my colleagues and tutors have been working from home, I have been closely in touch with them and they have helped and coached me every day through Teams. They have supported my baby steps at the beginning of my assistant career.
What would be your top tips for students interested in working as a legal assistant trainee?
Anna: If you hope to find a job where you can work with a variety of different tasks, have the opportunity to learn new things daily, and work with very nice colleagues, I warmly recommend this job for you!
Salla: This trainee position is a great learning experience, and the environment at Hannes Snellman is very encouraging, so I would say go for it, make sure you know the MS Office programs well, and do not panic if (I mean when) you do not understand what the lawyers are talking about.
Krister: Believe in yourself, be interested, search for more information, be ready to invest your time, and aim towards your dreams! A traineeship is a great opportunity to develop as a professional, try what works for you, and find out what is it that you are interested in.
What is your secret super power?
Anna: I am not sure but if I could, I would instantly teleport wherever I want!
Salla: Not so secret, but a good sense of humour; it saves you from pretty much all the evil there is.
Krister: I can spend hours and hours a day just scrolling through different dog videos on Instagram.
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