BSN City Group – Connecting across the distances

The BSN Junior Lawyers Group (JLG) was proud to be involved in BSN City Group’s ‘Connecting across the distances’ sessions over the summer. We recognise that many of our members have been personally affected by the global events of 2020 and it was great to hear from more junior members of the profession during these online sessions. JLG committee members Jaya Handa, Cherie Samuels and Ofei Kwafo-Akoto each co-hosted separate sessions alongside senior industry figures Sharon Thomas (Associate General Counsel, Genpact), Trevor Faure (CEO, Smarter Law Solutions) and Jennie Dorsaint (Partner, Paul Hastings) together with BSN Chair, Paulette Mastin. The conversations highlighted consistent themes and issues such as the challenge of separating work and life, lack of visibility and difficulties in relationship building with colleagues and peers. 

Despite the challenges faced in 2020, we were struck by how positive and constructive the discussions were, with attendees being encouraged to think creatively and positively about some of the consequences of the ‘new normal’ such as  the opportunity for some lawyers to broaden their specialism and pivot into other disciplines, taking advantage of the increased openness with clients and colleagues and of course, enjoying the benefits of being at home. Some of the top tips that we took from the sessions included:

  • Arranging virtual coffees to stay connected and maintain visibility.
  • Taking physical breaks to delineate the working day and time spent away from the computer.
    • Utilising a whiteboard at home to help you stay on top of personal as well as professional objectives.
  • Setting up your work station appropriately; maintaining a tidy space and ensuring that the background and lighting are suitable – video calls are increasingly important!
  • Taking time to reset and map out your career path as you would in any year. What would you like to achieve one year from now? What steps do you need to take to get there?
  • Being open to authentic opportunities to engage in the movement against racial inequality and thinking about combining this with issues affecting your specific sector.

As we look towards the end of the year and beyond, we plan on hosting more online events and finding other ways to connect with our members. In addition to online forums, including joint sessions with other industry groups, we will look to continue with a virtual version of the very successful ‘In conversation with…’ dinner series. As a committee we were pleased to welcome Marcus Harewood (Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright) as a committee member following the departure of former member Natalie Carter (Associate, Greenberg Traurig). We’re thankful to Natalie for her brilliant contribution since JLG’s inception and we look forward to working with Marcus on future events.

JLG Committee