Associate, Bird & Bird
I believe that you learn from all experiences in life, not just from those which have a direct link to your professional career.
I have a background in high-performance sports: I used to be a professional alpine skier on the Finnish national team. I work as wholeheartedly now as a lawyer as I used to when I was competing around the world in alpine skiing. I now get to work again with people who are passionate about their work and feel deeply committed to it.
I work as an Associate in our Intellectual Property group and my work includes, for instance, drafting and commenting on contracts related to product development and R&D. I find this work rewarding because it allows me to contribute to technological development and cooperation.
I put a lot of focus on my work and pay a lot of attention to my professional growth. As in high-performance sports, here you can set concrete goals for yourself and there really are no limits to your personal development.
I believe people's work is appreciated here and you can put your personal strengths to full use. You are actively encouraged to initiate and take part in a variety of different projects, including not only legal projects, but also projects which might contribute to the whole firm, both locally and internationally. However, it is important not to forget that this is principally client work, so clients' needs always come first.
The best advice I have ever had, both as an alpine skier and as a lawyer, is that you need to be patient. I have never regretted the fact that I first had a career in sports. I believe that you learn from all experiences in life, not just from those which have a direct link to your professional career. Everyone has to find their own path. You never know which experiences might prove to be useful on that path.