News & Views

Greetings from Alumni: Silja Kanerva

20 February 2020

We interviewed our alumna Silja Kanerva, who works as a legal counsel at Neste, about how she is doing and what she remembers about Hannes Snellman. Silja first joined us as a thesis trainee in 2012 and then worked as an associate lawyer in our Employment team until September 2019.

Hi Silja! How has the new decade started for you?

The new year and new decade have started with a positive buzz around. Neste is growing at an extraordinary pace, and there is a lot to be learned and adopted.

You have now worked at Neste as a legal counsel for six months. What would you say are the biggest differences when it comes to working as an in-house lawyer and as a lawyer in a law firm?

The job description / legal profile of an in-house lawyer is a lot wider than that of a lawyer in a law firm, and most of the work is done very independently in close cooperation with the business, which I quite like. The flip side of the coin is that it is difficult to focus on one matter in depth for a long time. All in all, I find it interesting being closer to the business and understanding the practical scenarios behind the agreements. 

Do you remember your very first day at Hannes Snellman in 2012? What was it like? What about your last day at Hannes Snellman?

I remember being surprised about how sociable and easygoing people were. I believe (my thesis and) I also benefited from the hard-working culture I was surrounded by. During the years at Hannes Snellman, I grew close with many of my colleagues and truly enjoyed the close-knit community. Leaving all that behind on the last day of work was difficult, but I also felt very grateful for all the experiences and friendships I had gained.

You also have a background in professional sports. What are the most important lessons you learned during your sailing years? How have those lessons helped you in your current job as a lawyer?

The biggest advantages relate to self-knowledge and being aware of my strengths, weaknesses, and limits. Secondly, I believe I am used to creating long-term goals and plans and working systematically towards them. Aiming for the highest possible achievements in sailing also taught me not to settle for an adequate level, but rather to always aim for better.

What advice would you give yourself on your first day of law school and on your first day working at a law firm?

For my first day at law school, I would say, do not make hasty judgements. There are a lot of different kinds of people and areas of interest and possibilities within the faculty. For the first day working at a law firm, if you do not understand, ask. Instructions are often scarce or based on assumptions a beginner cannot be aware of. It is always safer to ask.

Thank you for the interview, Silja!

Want to know more about working at Hannes Snellman? Please pay a visit to our Careers section.