Michael Ruck is a partner in TLT's financial services team in London. Michael previously spent four and a half years at another City law firm in the corporate crime, investigations and enforcement team and before that spent almost six years working in the FCA's Enforcement and Market Oversight Division. Michael is a highly experienced investigations lawyer.
What made you want to become a lawyer?
When I started out I wanted to be a criminal defence solicitor as I not only wanted to help those who were wrongly accused but also to help those who often found themselves to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was fortunate enough to be able to do this for almost six years following qualification.
What does TLT do well?
TLT has a very collegiate and supportive culture that stands out in the market.
It's also very good at meeting client needs, whether that's going beyond the call of duty, developing new services or offering an excellent standard of client service. A good example of this is the firm's Future Law initiative, which was announced recently and is designed to drive change more rapidly in the way the firm delivers services and products to clients.
The firm has been consistently growing for years and I joined because I was already aware of its leading reputation in the financial services market.
What’s your favourite thing about working for TLT?
My favourite thing about working at TLT is the supportive culture which extends to supporting our staff, clients and others via our corporate social responsibility activities.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to shape your career?
Ten years ago I had recently joined the enforcement division of the Financial Services Authority (now Financial Conduct Authority) to conduct regulatory and criminal investigations. My advice to myself then would have been to ensure I made the most of the opportunity to work at such a high profile organisation, and to gain as wide a variety of experience as possible, while not being afraid to consider a move to private practice when I had achieved everything I thought possible at the FSA/FCA.
When is the right time to start building your network and how is best to achieve this?
Networks are important from the very outset of a legal career. I continue to be in contact with people I have met or worked with in previous roles and you never know when you may need someone to assist you or when others will need your advice or support. I believe that the best way to achieve this is to have as wide and varied a network as possible of those people you would want to work with.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
My family have probably had the greatest influence on my career. My family have always supported me and offered guidance on how I could deal with what have sometimes been difficult career decisions.
What qualities do you look for in potential candidates hoping to join your team?
I look for ambition and a desire to get involved with all aspects of the role, including business development and the nitty gritty of investigations.
What do you think will be some of the major changes to the legal profession in the future?
While legislation and case law will continue to evolve, many of the major changes likely to impact the legal profession in the future are technological and cultural.
The evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and how this can be used will impact numerous aspects of the profession, with firms seeking to utilise and engage with such technological advances to benefit clients. For example, TLT has partnered with a US AI company to launch our product TLT LegalSifter for clients. It completes a contract review in a minute or two, increasing the speed, quality and value of day-to-day contract reviews for businesses and freeing up in-house legal teams to work on more rewarding and value-added tasks.
We will also hopefully continue to see an increasingly diverse profession at all levels, bringing new ideas and approaches to how legal advice and support can be provided in the future.
How will flexible and agile working impact law firms in the future?
Flexible and agile working will hopefully ensure that the diversity of the legal profession continues to increase – by offering the ability for individuals to support clients in a way that makes a variety of working patterns and locations possible. One of the key challenges will be ensuring that all individuals continue to be fully engaged as part of a wider team and firm with the opportunities to maintain and grow their network.
How can lawyers and firms ensure they are at the forefront of progress and innovation in the legal market?
The main thing is to never stop learning and never stand still. The industry is changing every day as new technologies make new ways of working and servicing clients possible. Lawyers should engage with their firm's transformation programme – like the Future Law initiative at TLT, which encourages everyone to share their ideas for new solutions to client challenges and is supported by a £500k investment fund – and never be afraid to put their ideas forward.