Connect the dots: Hyunhee (Rachel) Park

First-year transactional associate Rachel Park joined Clifford Chance in New York after beginning her career at Samsung in her native South Korea. She shares lessons from her corporate experience and how they have transferred to her legal practice in substance and in spirit.

Photo credit: Thomas Donley, New York

Working in a marketing role for a multinational company before law school was a great decision. I spent five years at Samsung Electronics in South Korea and came away with a real head start in transitioning to the law. I got to see how a company is run from the inside, and I learned what it means to provide service. And because of the nature of Samsung’s business, I was exposed to strategic sectors, such as tech and consumer, which law firms are targeting in their own businesses.

Although marketing and law do not seemingly overlap, I brought many lessons from my previous experience when I entered the legal industry. In becoming part of another global organization, I also found many similarities between the two roles. One aspect of my firm that really appealed to me was the regular collaboration with our offices in other parts of the world. And I came here with a good understanding of how building positive relationships with colleagues can maximize efficiency and provide the best possible work product for our clients.

What I’ve come to understand is that any business is a people business. As a junior lawyer, you constantly need help from others in order to get things done. And it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that you’re never just turning in an assignment; you are playing a role by contributing to part of something bigger.

I am always reminding myself to keep a positive attitude and never do a sloppy job. When you’re putting a product out there for somebody else to use, whether it’s a smartphone or a purchase and sale agreement, it’s not just about the quality of the product, but how you handle the entire process of your business dealings. As a junior attorney, there’s a level of pressure that comes with facing the responses to your work from clients as well as senior colleagues. Everything you do – no matter how big or small the task – is going to leave an impression. And where clients are involved, that impression won’t just be of yourself, but your entire organization.

I have learned the importance of connecting the dots – that everyone you encounter is a potential mentor, friend and client, and every experience and relationship you build with another colleague is an opportunity to grow. Viewing all of that as something connected can help you focus on the best parts of any job, because whether it’s skills or relationships, you’ll always gain something valuable, and each point will guide you to the next.