Name: Risha Odedra
Age: 22 years
Degree and university: Law, Warwick University
Work title: First seat Trainee Solicitor at Baker & McKenzie.
What do you actually do? I am currently based in the Intellectual Property department. The department deals with the protection of valuable intangible assets including trade marks, copyright, patent and design rights. We are also involved in commercial intellectual property, brand protection, anti-piracy and counterfeiting programmes and the enforcement of intellectual property.
Were you always interested in this aspect of the law? I became increasingly aware of the career possibilities within commercial law during my first year at university. More particularly, I discovered the training contract opportunities with Baker & McKenzie, through my research of international law firms in key manuals. In addition, the firm provided excellent information at the university law fair and presentations on campus. Following this, I also did a summer vacation scheme at Baker & McKenzie, which provided me with a fantastic insight into the work and culture of the firm. This was a fantastic experience and I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about how the firm works.
Is diversity important to your company? Having a truly international and diverse legal team is certainly regarded as an asset at Baker & McKenzie, being a global firm. Diversity is certainly valued and recognised within the firm. There is a well established Diversity Committee to promote best practice in diversity, and to communicate and implement various initiatives in this area. Key initiatives which the firm is involved in include membership of Legal Chances, a group that runs annual events for ethnic minority students, and the Social Mobility Foundation, which works to secure internships for students from low income backgrounds. In addition, there are various active focus groups which operate across the firm ranging from the Ethnicity to the Women’s group.
I joined Baker & McKenzie because of its truly global network, diverse clients, intellectual yet personable legal team, and immense opportunities for career and professional development. I enjoy my job as it involves working in a team and dealing with international clients and legal teams. The work, although challenging is extremely rewarding and intellectually stimulating as every situation and scenario is different. The work culture here is professional yet relaxed, and the team works effectively together internally and externally with the international offices, to meets the needs and demands of the client, which is highly motivating. At times, paying close attention to detail can be difficult, especially when facing several deadlines however, it is a skill that quickly develops as does the ability to work well under pressure.
What strengths do you think you need to succeed at what you do? To succeed in commercial law in the City, it is important to develop effective communication and teamwork skills, to be broad minded and creative and to be able to view issues from an international perspective whilst being sensitive to cultural differences. Sound business sense also helps together with a sense of initiative! Most importantly, fulfil your potential, be yourself and be confident in striving to achieve your ambition. Every graduate with a genuine interest in law and the business world has the ability to contribute something unique to this industry. If this sounds like you, go for it! I did.