‘It’s rare that I have a typical day during the week.’ Joanna Risdale
Senior Associate Bristol

Why did you want to pursue a career in Law?

Initially because I wanted to be the next Ally McBeal!  I soon realised that the challenge of working in a constantly changing legal landscape to try and find solutions to achieve clients’ goals was the sort of challenge that I was keen to take on and pursue throughout my career.

Why OC in Bristol?

I’m from Bristol originally and applied to firms in Bristol and Birmingham (where I went to University) as I had no desire to work or live in London, but wanted to work for a large firm that advised big name clients and could offer me the type of work which was both interesting and challenging.

As soon as I walked into the office for an assessment centre I felt at home and like it was a place where I really fitted in and could achieve my potential.  I actually cancelled second interviews at other firms when I was offered the OC training contract as I had felt quite uncomfortable when I walked into their offices and knew that I was not a good fit with those firms; they were all a bit too stuffy for me!

How has your training contract at OC aided your transition to qualified lawyer and your role as a trainee supervisor?

From the outset I was given responsibility and encouraged to be a member of the team – I was never made to feel like “the trainee” in any team I worked in and genuinely felt as though team members (right up to partner) were looking out for me throughout my two year training contract.  All of my supervisors were hugely supportive and interested in developing my career. I qualified into my final seat and, as soon as my job had been confirmed, all the Partners in the team congratulated me and this attitude is constant throughout the firm and OC is just a genuinely lovely environment to work in.

How did you become a trainee supervisor?

I was very keen to pass some of the support which I received whilst I was a trainee on to the trainees coming through now, so was pleased when the head of department appointed me as supervisor.  The support, catch ups and general pastoral interest in your development are all extremely important when you are training and I hope I can pass that onto the trainees that I supervise.  The culture at OC definitely aids your development and the whole team is keen to help you progress as a lawyer.

What drew you to qualify into Real Estate?

I struggled with the decision on qualification (which I think is a reflection of the quality of all teams at OC), but ultimately RE was the team which I felt best suited my skills. I enjoy negotiation but the beauty of a transactional department is that everyone is ultimately working towards the same goal. I really enjoy working with assets that are so tangible; there’s quite a buzz from walking past a multi-let building in the City which you have purchased or developed and knowing that you facilitated that project.

Typical day?

It’s rare that I have a typical day during the week, as I spend a day or two every couple of weeks in the London office, usually have client meetings or a site visit to attend or sometimes have all day client events.

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