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Law, legal services and patents

Ronan Lyons, Partner, A&L Goodbody

Ronan Lyons is a partner with A&L Goodbody, with responsibility for the Trainee Programme. He talks about what graduates can expect on legal graduate programmes and how they can make the best lasting impression.
So we always advise our Trainee Solicitors to focus on their communication skills and to think about what the recipient is expecting when they are drafting correspondence.

In addition to the Trainee
Solicitor Programme, A&L
Goodbody also has a Summer
Intern Programme and LawStart –
a one day insight programme
specifically geared towards first
and second year students. The
LawStart Programme is designed
to give students the opportunity
to observe working life at A&L
Goodbody and get a real flavour
for how the Firm works. In terms
of the Trainee Solicitor
Programme, there are anywhere
between 90 and 100 Trainee
Solicitors working within the Firm
at any one time, all at various
stages of the three year Trainee
Solicitor Programme.

Approximately 30–35 graduates
join our programme each year as
Trainee Solicitors.
Ronan is one of two partners
with responsibility for the Trainee
Solicitor Programme, the other
being Niamh Ryan, which
demonstrates the importance
which the Firm places on the
Programme as a pipeline for
future talent. “During their three
year programme, Trainee Solicitors
will rotate through four different
departments within the Firm, with
a strong focus on their continuing
education,” explains Ronan.

When graduates walk in the door
of A&L Goodbody for the first time as
a Trainee Solicitor, what can they
expect? “Firstly there is a one week
structured induction programme
giving them the opportunity to get to
know each other, the Firm, the
people and the culture. Following
induction, Trainee Solicitors
commence their first rotation. For
example in the Corporate
Department, they work as part of a
legal team which can vary from
working on a large M&A transaction
to more advisory work. At this stage
we are focused on their learning and
enabling them to become
accustomed to the Firm’s
environment and what is expected of
them as a Trainee Solicitor.”

Communication

Alongside the technical legal skills
developed in a corporate law firm, it is
very important that Trainees
Solicitors also develop the softer skills
in order to make the best of their
traineeship. “In our type of work,
strong communications skills, both
verbal and written, are hugely
important. So we always advise our
Trainee Solicitors to focus on their
communication skills and to think
about what the recipient is expecting
when they are drafting
correspondence.”

Building your network

Ronan adds that building an effective
network and having the personal
skills to expand and influence your
network, is something which is of
immense value to Trainee Solicitors
“It is never too early to start building
your network and although we
understand that students have plenty
to keep them busy at university, it
really is the ideal place to start. We
also love to see involvement and
volunteering at university on an
application, as it shows initiative, as
does getting involved in a start-up
business idea.”

Internships

“In the context of preparing to work
in a legal environment, I cannot
overstate the value of securing some
experience through an internship. In
fact, we currently recruit a sizeable
proportion of our Trainee Solicitors
from our Summer Intern Programme
and we will be increasing that
amount significantly in the future.”

Taking responsibility

In terms of what is most valued in
prospective Trainee Solicitors, Ronan
says that his A&LG colleagues are
focused on helping them with their
training and development, and in
return they place high value on the
Trainee Solicitor taking a deep sense
of ownership and responsibility for
their work. “We often work on large
scale collaborative projects, so
someone who takes ownership and
successfully concludes their part of
the project is acting in the best
interests of the team as a whole.
We find that Trainee Solicitors
today have more experience and a
greater sense of what’s expected in
the workplace. What we need from
them is to accurately translate that
experience into delivering for our
clients and the work they do with
the Firm in addition to developing
their own careers.”

Ronan Lyons was interviewed for the 2018 gradireland Law Sector Guide.