A Q&A with Elle Berrett on her transition from Senior Associate to Partner

October 3, 2022

Why did you decide to join this model as an associate?

I joined gunnercooke in October 2020 having just gone through a very difficult time personally and professionally. Initially, the thought of joining the model terrified me – not having the stability of employment to fall back onto. However, that immediately changed the minute I joined! The support that I have received since day one of joining gunnercooke as an associate has been incredible. Taking the leap from employment to self-employment is daunting but as I began to understand more about how the associate programme would support me, my fears quickly disappeared, and I threw myself in at the deep end once I joined!

For me, flexibility was a huge factor in my decision to join. I have two young children (6 and 3) and being able to work around childcare arrangements and spend time with my children was crucial.

Being able to continue to grow my own client base whilst also working with some incredible partners at gunnercooke has been like a breath of fresh air. I have been exposed to a huge variety of work over the past two years and worked with some brilliant lawyers but have also had the flexibility to focus on growing my own practice. It has been a giant learning curve, but one I am so glad I have decided to take.

How has the transition from associate to partner been for you?

The transition, although initially a little daunting, has been incredible. The support from within gunnercooke is second to none and has really given me the confidence to take things forward to the next stage of my career.

I am excited to be undertaking further work with partners and associates within the firm and continue to grow my own business practice as well!

What sort of support can you offer partners?

As a corporate commercial lawyer with over 10 years PQE, I love being able to assist partners on various corporate transactions, whether it be handling an entire transaction from start to finish or picking up elements of a deal that need extra support.

My expertise is in the field of M&A work, investment and fundraising, shareholder matters and commercial contracts. I enjoy the variety that this type of work brings to the table and love getting stuck into the nitty gritty of a chunky transaction!

What’s the best piece of advice given to you at gunnercooke?

There are two pieces of excellent advice that I have really taken on board since joining gunnercooke:

“Don’t be afraid to say no”. Although it sounds so simple, this is a hard one for me and it has taken some practice for me to be comfortable in saying it. Having transitioned from employment to self-employment, my mentality at first was that I couldn’t possibly refuse any work that came my way as I wanted to secure my income. However, the more I networked internally at gunnercooke and the more I got to know and work with some fantastic lawyers more and more work started to come my way. I was in a (fortunate) position where I had to get comfortable with saying no to taking on more work, and I soon learnt that actually saying “no” is ok and respected.

The other great piece of advice I learnt is that “Clients need to realise your value”. It is very easy to undersell yourself and take on as much work as you can out of fear. In transitioning from employment to self-employment, I found quoting for work particularly hard. This was mainly because I didn’t want to turn away any work and would often quote low to ensure I secured the instruction. That soon changed once I went on some training at gunnercooke! The way I view myself as a lawyer has changed; Clients come to me (to all of us) for professional legal advice. We provide that professional advice at a cost which may well be higher than at other law firms. However, I strongly believe that there is huge value in the work I provide to my clients on many levels, and if some clients want to go elsewhere for less, then that is ok with me too.

Find out more about Elle on her profile here