Ahead of the firm’s vac scheme application deadline, Reed Smith trainee Roch Glowacki reflects on what he learned during six-months at firm’s client
The life of a trainee solicitor is changing. As innovation leads to smarter ways of working at elite law firms, expect less photocopying and more opportunities to develop greater business savvy. A conversation with Roch Glowacki, a second-year trainee at Reed Smith, illustrates the shift that is taking place.
“It’s been a fantastic experience,” says Glowacki, who is currently in his fourth seat. “The work has been diverse and interesting throughout, and I had a brilliant second seat — a secondment to Bauer Media, one of the firm’s longstanding clients.”
Glowacki explains the rationale behind a secondment to a leading media company:
One of Reed Smith’s big selling points to students is the opportunity to do client secondments during training contracts. The aim is to get trainees and junior lawyers thinking about client relationships and the business drivers to legal practice at an early stage. It was something I’d always been keen on.
Bauer has media stable that reaches 25 million consumers in the UK alone, thanks to household-name titles such as Heat, Kerrang!, Grazia and Empire. They’re just a few of a portfolio of more than 600 magazines, 400 digital products and 120+ radio and TV stations around the world, including 4Music and KISS FM. Working in the company’s legal department sounds fast-paced and dynamic — what’s it like in practice?
“My secondment was between March and September 2016,” says Glowacki. “It was a very exciting time for the company, because it was in the process of acquiring Orion Media, the Midlands-based commercial radio group.” There was a lot at stake, with the move set to increase Bauer’s share of UK commercial radio listening to 34%, and Glowacki relished working on the transaction. “It was great to see how the deal was put together, and be part of the team that helped make it happen.”
Other work undertaken when Glowacki was at Bauer included drafting commercial contracts, release forms, competition terms & conditions, NDAs and session agreements; he also dealt with reader queries and complaints, investigated alleged trademark and copyright infringements and negotiated licences for the recording of artists performing at the Isle of Wight Festival 2016. On a daily basis, Glowacki would report to Bauer’s in-house legal team, but he would also maintain contact with his colleagues at Reed Smith, though “in an organic way — it wasn’t restrictive at all.”
Glowacki is from Poland, and studied Law with European Studies at King’s College, London, graduating with a 2:1 in 2014. It was during his degree — which also entailed a year spent in Holland, studying at Leiden University via the Erasmus exchange programme — that he realised he enjoyed business and commercial matters as much as academic law. That, in turn, meant that Reed Smith’s bespoke masters in business, in partnership with BPP Law School, was the ideal way of completing his LPC.
“It enabled me to complete extra modules in business strategy and finance, and also to work on a business intelligence project,” says Glowacki, who obtained a distinction in the combined MA and LPC. “It was an excellent way of understanding the commercial factors that are in clients’ minds, driving what they do, and helped me get a head start in understanding how business people think.”
Glowacki joined Reed Smith in August 2015, having been a Business Masters intern with the firm for four weeks, from June to July that year. Thanks to his secondment at Bauer, he already has a good sense of the differences between private practice and in-house legal work: “In private practice, you have a lot of different clients; in-house, there is just the one client, but each person in the business is like an individual client. You learn a huge amount about the business — about what makes it tick — and you have to know something about everything. You have to think on your feet.”
And is working in the media as glamorous as it sounds? Glowacki — a keen sportsman outside work, with a passion for endurance running, cycling, hockey and break-dancing — unhesitatingly says ‘yes’. “It’s a fun and exciting world, with so many creative people. Being part of it for six months, feeling that you’ve made a real contribution to the team and the company’s work, was a brilliant experience.”
And there will be plenty more where that came from. Glowacki has just accepted an offer of a newly qualified position with Reed Smith’s Entertainment and Media team.