Henri Kaikkonen

Partner, Bird & Bird

In this profession, like in many other, you can’t underestimate the importance of the first impressions you give of yourself.

In a way, I’m a returning employee to Bird & Bird nest as I worked here as a Trainee in summer 2010. Now, after more than ten years, I’m back here and work as Partner and head of the Intellectual Property group in Finland.

I remember that my traineeship interviews were conducted remotely because I was doing a university exchange in Sheffield. As a startling coincidence, before I was invited to join Bird & Bird as Partner, the major part of the interviews were held remotely – this time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

My traineeship at Bird & Bird is special to me as it was my first touch base to an attorney’s office. Looking back, it was significant for my career progression especially because I got to develop my social skills and network with people who I met again years after my traineeship. In this profession, like in many other, you can’t underestimate the importance of the first impressions you give of yourself. If you put effort to your traineeship and try your best to give a proactive picture of yourself, it will always in some way pay off. The relationships you build carry far – you might collaborate with the people from your traineeship times in some other context or find yourself working as colleagues again.

For me, the best thing about working in an attorney’s office is that I get to be a trusted advisor for clients. The best level of interaction is when you get to know your client almost like a friend. Besides substance knowledge, this profession is all about great communication skills. As you interact with different kind of people and organisations, you always need to find the best individual solutions for the clearest communication to happen.

What I love about IP is its concreteness. You often work with brands and technology that everyone can relate to. For example, during a convenience store visit, I might walk past different brand signals and remember brand cases I was involved in as a legal advisor to help that brand to look like that. That’s very concrete and exciting. For law graduates who are interested in practicing IP law, my advice to you is to learn to understand IP from as many sectors’ perspectives as possible: what are the IP questions in that specific sector and how are these changing in time? As the world is full of different kind of IP including e.g. brands, data and technology, I encourage you to be active in following different sectors and think about IP from a holistic perspective.