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My experience as a secondee

12 August 2019

Emma Brooke, Associate, talks to us about her experience as a secondee working with Premier Inn & Restaurants.

Name: Emma Brooke
Job title: Associate
Location: UK, Leeds

Where have you been seconded since starting at DWF?

Since joining the business in October 2018, I have undertaken a secondment with Premier Inn & Restaurants, and have just started another secondment with a large telecoms company.

A typical day at Premier Inn involved...

Anything and everything sent on to me by the General Counsel or employees within the Premier Inn business, AKA stakeholders, such as corporate account managers and members of the procurement team. It was important for me to have face to face meetings where possible, and when working remotely from the Leeds office, calls, with stakeholders to ensure that I had all of the background needed to assist further with a legal query or contract review or negotiation.

A typical day could include drafting a cease and desist letter, meeting up with an account manager to discuss my review of a room rate agreement, negotiating a software as a service agreement, drafting some promotional terms and conditions to be sent out in a new campaign or providing intellectual property advice in relation to a new restaurant menu rollout.

I enjoyed my secondment because…

It was a great insight into how our legal advice impacts how a business functions on a day to day basis. Sometimes when you advise a client as external legal counsel, you don't then get to see how your advice has influenced a business decision in practice, and you move onto the next instruction. During my time on secondment, it was satisfying to see the results of my advice, for example seeing the new restaurant menu I advised on being rolled out in Premier Inn's restaurants or receiving a marketing email which contains the promotional terms and conditions I drafted.My advice to those being sent on secondments…

Have confidence in your ability, be commercial and don't be afraid to make calls on certain decisions. If you are more junior, it can sometimes be out of your comfort zone to advise a client on an issue without supervision. However, on secondment, you are an extension of the in-house legal team and very much on the front line in terms of providing legal advice. In some cases, of course, supervision from your line manager at the client will be necessary, especially as we do not have the depth of knowledge as the in-house legal team, but generally you will be expected to have a go and work through an issue on your own in order to provide pragmatic advice to the stakeholder. This can be nerve-wracking at times, but worth it when you know that you have made the right call and forged stronger relationships with the legal team and stakeholders as a result.

My most memorable moment…

Being driven an hour and a half to attend a sleepover at the Premier Inn Data Protection counsel's house to meet her adorable dachshund puppies! I certainly followed the DWF mantras of "doing things differently" and "understanding our clients" during that experience!