Julie Bounden - Stevens & Bolton LLP
What is your job title?
Head of human resources.
Where do you work (geographically speaking)?
We have one office which is in Guildford, Surrey.
What are your main responsibilities?
I'm responsible for the whole HR function and one part of that is trainee recruitment and, of course, looking after the trainees when they are here.
How long have you been in the job?
I've been in this job for nine years, but I've been in law and HR for a lot longer.
What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?
The most enjoyable aspect is giving someone the news that they've got a training contract - particularly in the current market. The downside is when someone doesn't quite live up to their application.
What is the biggest challenge of the job?
Making sure that we attract the best people. As Chambers UK 2012 put it, we are "a City firm away from the City".
Do you socialise with your trainees/vac scheme students?
Yes I do, but I'm probably considered a bit of a lightweight these days!
What has been your most memorable moment in the job?
It was probably when we went for the Investors in People re-accreditation and sailed through it. We received some great comments about the firm, such as how there is a culture of continuous improvement, the firm is friendly and supportive, and people feel valued and appreciated for their contribution. Other memorable moments were, of course, our repeated success at the LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards!
Do you attend law fairs? Why is it important for students to attend?
Yes, but only a small number. It's important students attend so that they can actually meet individuals from the firm, take the opportunity to chat to them and find out whether or not it's the type of firm they want to train in. I'm not sure that students always take that opportunity; I think that they possibly rely too much on what's available on the Internet.
What's the most annoying question you're asked by students?
"How many days holiday would I get?"
What do you look for in a candidate?
We look for very good communicators, people who've got drive and ambition, who are intelligent, and who've got genuine enthusiasm for wanting to be a lawyer.
Is there a mistake you often see candidates make and wish they wouldn’t?
In applications, using text-speak, incorrect grammar and not checking through properly. Attention to detail cannot be over-emphasized.
What has a candidate done that has most impressed you?
A candidate who had researched the interviewing partner and asked an intelligent question about a deal that he had recently completed.
How should candidates approach you for feedback after an interview?
They should either call me or arrange a specific time for me to call them.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the legal profession?
Get as much experience as possible in a wide range of legal areas - not just in private practice - to get a feel for what being a lawyer is all about.
What makes your firm stand out from the rest?
This is by far the best firm I've worked for, because what you see is what you get. The firm genuinely looks after the people who work here and there is real opportunity for trainees to get involved and take on early responsibility - great clients, great work.
If you could do something completely different, what would it be?
I'd retrain as a make-up artist and work on films like The Hunger Games or on TV shows like Doctor Who.
What's your guilty pleasure?
What's your desert island disc?
Rumour has it by Adele.View Stevens & Bolton LLP's details