Being active and thirst for knowledge have led alumni Inari Kinnunen in her career

Alum Inari Kinnunen works in a prominent law firm. Studies in law provided a solid foundation for the expertise that has helped her develop into a legal information management professional. Kinnunen considers the professional networks and friendships formed during her studies to be immeasurably valuable and she encourages students to live an active student life.

Inari Kinnunen

How did you end up studying at the University of Turku?

I come from Lieksa, North Karelia, and Turku as a city was not at all familiar for me in advance. When I graduated as a student, it was possible to study law at the universities of Helsinki, Lapland, and Turku, and since I no longer wanted to move further north and Helsinki felt like too big of a city, I chose the University of Turku. The choice turned out to be excellent, as Turku was a great place to study due to its size and student friendliness, among other things.

What did you study and what kind of memories do you have of your study time?

Several areas of law in our degree proved to be of interest, but I was most interested in intellectual property law, for which I did advanced studies and a dissertation. Our advanced studies group was coordinated by the IPR University Center, so our group also included students from Helsinki. Today, I work quite extensively in various fields of law, for which studies in law as a general degree provided a good foundation.

I started studying law in the autumn of 1997 and graduated in January 2003. Although I graduated during the recommended period, I worked almost throughout my studies and was also actively involved in the activities of Lex ry.

Time may have gilded memories, but studying was an incredibly special period in my life! It involved independence, academic life, interesting work assignments as a faculty supervisor, one of the most important interpersonal work and, most importantly, great relationships: my best friends are from Turku Faculty of Law during my studies.

Particularly memorable are Lex's activities - for example, the sitsits, which were also organized together with other subject organizations. The special communality of the Faculty of Law has also been remembered: our own faculty building, Calonia, and its café, where faculty staff and students had coffee at the same tables.

What do you do for a living today?

I work for Dittmar & Indrenius, a 120-year-old law firm focusing on business law in Helsinki. I handle legal assignments for demanding corporate clients - legal advice, not litigation - in matters such as medical law, marketing law and intellectual property law. I am also the Knowledge Manager in our office and am responsible for the management and development of legal information by Dittmar & Indrenius. Legal information retrieval from all areas of law in the field of business law and various legislative follow-ups are part of my work, as is working on knowledge management development projects.

What has been your path and how have you ended up in your current job?

My career path even today is atypical: I’ve been in the same job for over fifteen years. After graduating, I stayed at the Faculty of Law of the University of Turku as an assistant in civil law. More than six months later, I was recruited by Dittmar & Indrenius, where I had been working as a summer legal intern during my studies, to work as a legal informant on maternity leave. Since then, I have been established and I am still on the same path. Of course, my job description has changed as my experience has grown and I have been able to develop into a legal information management professional surrounded by nice and knowledgeable colleagues.

How has your university studies benefited you in your career?

My strong guiding principles are my interest in new phenomena and my constant thirst for information. Substantive knowledge is important in my work, but the skills I have learned in practice in legal information retrieval and the understanding of national and EU-level legislative processes are also key cornerstones of my knowledge. Social skills and good customer service skills, language skills, management skills, presentation skills and IT skills are sure to be useful in any job.

Because I work specifically as an expert, I would know little without my university studies - they form the basis of everything I do! The legal way of thinking and developing developed surreptitiously during my studies. During my studies, I also learned to outline broad entities and distinguish the essential from the irrelevant. I also learned the basics of scientific writing and legal information retrieval.

Finnish legal circles are quite small, so acquaintances acquired during their studies are constantly encountered in professional contacts, which makes working natural and comfortable. In addition, lawyers who graduated from Turku Law have a special connection, for the maintenance of which I am active in our alumni association Senilex ry.

What do you think are the most interesting future challenges in your industry?

In my own work, it is interesting to advise our clients on the changing business environment and issues related to new technologies and innovations; legislation is always lagging behind somewhat, which requires lawyers to think innovatively and focus on solutions.

The importance of corporate responsibility and social responsibility is growing even more, which I think is changing the way legal advice goes in the right direction. It is not enough for companies to comply with the minimum level of legislation, but business must be on a responsible and sustainable basis, for example from an environmental and human rights perspective. This brings a new kind of meaning to lawyers working in the field of business law.

There is a lot of talk about the digitalisation of the legal profession and the opportunities brought by artificial intelligence, and it is certain that certain tasks will be handled automatically in the future. However, I believe this will lead us lawyers to focus on increasingly interesting work rather than routine work.

What advice would you like to give to a student?

During my own studies, studying was certainly more carefree: the duration of studies was not limited, and grades did not play a significant role. Today, law students are stressed about their grades, as they are important when applying for a court internship. However, I would advise students to make the most of their study time and do more than just study! There is a lot to learn in organizational work and it is hugely useful in a career. Similarly, studying abroad and gaining diverse work experience is more effortless to do during your studies than after graduation.

Only a few students have detailed career plans during their studies - thankfully! It is worth taking an open-minded approach to life and future opportunities, as a unique, interesting career path can be found in a surprising direction.