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Paul Rose, - Associate General Counsel at WTW

Alumni spotlight

Paul Rose

Associate General Counsel at WTW

Paul joined Eversheds Sutherland as a trainee in 2006 and was with the firm until 2017, joining WTW as in-house counsel. He recalls happy times with the firm, including one peculiar day looking after a celebrity client’s flat.

Was it always your ambition to go into the law?

Not at all, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. During university I applied for summer internships but I didn’t enjoy working at an investment bank and tried vacation schemes at various law firms; one time, I was handed a lease to review and asked to work out how to get the client out of a problem. I liked the problem-solving involved and never looked back.

Why did you chose to train at Eversheds Sutherland?

Well I was clear that I didn’t want to join a Magic Circle law firm. At the time, I had heard stories of burnout, which put me off. The other reason was that Eversheds Sutherland were quickest off the mark to offer me a training contract!

What are your memories of being a trainee?

I trained in Senator House (the firm’s former London base). One memory I have is when one of our celebrity media clients phoned us to say they were having their London apartment redecorated. So I spent the day sat in their London flat waiting for the decorators who were due to come in to quote. That was an odd training task.

Do you look back on your time at the firm with fondness?

I definitely do, especially the earlier years. Your training is a unique experience and all the trainees are in it together, which makes for a real collegiate feeling.

And of course, I have fond memories of big summer gatherings and Christmas parties – and the drinks trolley that used to come round.

Who were your mentors?

Claire Carroll is probably the person I worked with most closely over my time. Although I qualified into the London Pensions team, I ended up moving to Financial Services Disputes and Investigations because of Claire.

She was just fantastic at taking me under her wing, getting me involved and making me – like many others – better as lawyers. I can’t speak highly enough of her.

How would you say you developed as a lawyer?

I was quite shy and lacking in confidence at the start. As the years went by, I grew into my own. That was down to the people, those who showed you the right path in order to hone your skills as far as possible.

I was given responsibility early on. During one mediation when I was still junior, all of a sudden the lead partner said he had to go. I thought, “he can’t just leave me here, can he?”, but it showed he had faith in me and knew I could handle it.

What was your proudest moment?

That was not long before I left. I was listed in Chambers, which was quite a pinnacle moment because the recommendation comes from clients. I thought that was actually a pretty big achievement at the time.

Why did you move in-house?

I went on secondment and got a flavour of what it was like being in-house. I liked feeling more in control of the day and getting closer to the business.

In private practice, you might do a bit of advice for the client but you don’t necessarily see the impact it has. In-house, you get the satisfaction of having senior leaders in the business seek out your views and value your opinion on all sorts of issues.

What are the best and worst things about being in-house?

The best things are probably the flexibility and seeing your advice really make a difference. Having said that, you’re often firefighting and pulled in many different directions, and that takes some getting used to.

You can be put on the spot and won’t necessarily have the luxury of time to digest a problem, read through all the papers and come up with an answer after due consideration.

What advice would you give to others thinking of moving in-house?

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Understand what type of in-house role would be right for you and at which type of business. Then do as much as possible to speak to the people who work there; that’ll give you a good sense of what it’s like being an in-house lawyer.

What can you tell us about your current role?

I’m an in-house litigator, so I spend the majority of my time advising on defending claims. These can run from tiny individual complaints to multimillion pound issues.

There are many different sides to the business, including insurance, actuarial, pensions admin, investment and so on – all fairly closely linked to the sort of work I was doing at Eversheds Sutherland.

What do you look for in outside counsel?

It all comes down to knowing our business. Because when we need them, it’s often to move very quickly. A firm that really knows us well and can ensure their advice is tailored to us is really what we look for.

What’s the most valuable career advice you’ve ever received?

Things are not always going to go entirely to plan, but that’s okay. Especially as a junior lawyer, you can be scared of getting things wrong. So it’s important not to dwell on your mistakes; learn from them and move on.

Secondly – and linked to this – the only way you really learn is to push yourself into unfamiliar territory.

Can you tell us something funny or interesting that people might not know about you?

I just turned 40 and, to celebrate, I went clubbing with my seven oldest friends to Ibiza!

If you would like to add Paul Rose to your network, you can connect with him via LinkedIn.