Lessons I Learned in Law

Troy Atkin on harnessing the power of rejection

November 18, 2021 Heriot Brown Season 2 Episode 2
Troy Atkin on harnessing the power of rejection
Lessons I Learned in Law
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Lessons I Learned in Law
Troy Atkin on harnessing the power of rejection
Nov 18, 2021 Season 2 Episode 2
Heriot Brown

In this episode of Lessons I Learned in Law, Scott Brown speaks to Troy Atkin, aka @The_weightlifting_lawyer.

Troy Atkin is a trainee in his first seat with Portsmouth based firm, Biscoes. 

Troy shares the three lessons he has learned in law including:

  • Use rejection as fuel!
  • Be yourself, know your values and understand your worth.
  • Be limitless with your goals, and in your pursuit of them.

Troy also discusses his 3 passions in life: ensuring good legal advice is accessible for all, smashing the stigma of mental health (especially in legal professionals) and lifting heavy weights.

Presented by Scott Brown of Heriot Brown Legal Recruitment.


Follow Heriot Brown:

Twitter | LinkedInFacebook | Instagram

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Lessons I Learned in Law, Scott Brown speaks to Troy Atkin, aka @The_weightlifting_lawyer.

Troy Atkin is a trainee in his first seat with Portsmouth based firm, Biscoes. 

Troy shares the three lessons he has learned in law including:

  • Use rejection as fuel!
  • Be yourself, know your values and understand your worth.
  • Be limitless with your goals, and in your pursuit of them.

Troy also discusses his 3 passions in life: ensuring good legal advice is accessible for all, smashing the stigma of mental health (especially in legal professionals) and lifting heavy weights.

Presented by Scott Brown of Heriot Brown Legal Recruitment.


Follow Heriot Brown:

Twitter | LinkedInFacebook | Instagram

Scott Brown  (0:03)   

Hi and welcome to lessons learned in law with me Scott Brown, founder of Heriot Brown In-House Legal Recruitment. On each episode, you get to hear my conversation with someone from the legal profession as they break down their three key lessons that they've learned from working in law in their career. With any luck, you'll leave us informed, inspired and armed with a bit more knowledge to work your way along your career path and hopefully lead you to a fulfilling career. We're continuing our journey and broadening out the guests that we're speaking to on the podcast and this week. I'm delighted to be joined by Troy at Can I try it?  


Troy Atkin  (0:38)   

Hi, Scott. Thanks for having me. 


Scott Brown  (0:40)   

Welcome Troy as a trainee solicitor at Biscoes solicitors in Portsmouth and he's currently finishing his first seat and commercial property and soon to be moving into his second ever reached out to try recently after seeing him filming a video for Crafty Council shout out to Crafty Council. For those who don't know, they produce some great content for in-house lawyers in video and another format. But I was really interested in some of the stuff that Troy spoke about in that in that video. so delighted that he's joining me today. With each guest, you'll also hear a little bit about themselves, their background and and stuff that they do outside of law. So be keen to learn more about Troy's Instagram account with the weightlifting lawyer. He's interested in all things rock and roll, and a bit about his family dogs as well and love for them. But if you can just kick off try with lesson number one. 


Troy Atkin  (1:36)   

Yeah, so thanks for the kind introduction. And thanks for you know, letting me come on my first lesson is, I think is the number one rule. And it's using rejection as fuel. Because I think especially in this industry, you know, like a lot of other industries. But obviously, this is the only one I can relate to directly. We've come across rejection on a daily basis, rejection failure, however you want to dress it up. And I think it's, it kind of links on to overcoming adversity, which I feel is the greatest skill, and aspiring lawyer, lawyer, partner, whatever you wherever you are in the hierarchy of law, is to have that skill to overcome adversity. And to actually use rejection as fuel rejection is a positive thing, because it allows us space to grow, it allows you to kind of see where you are, and where you need to get to. And kind of, you know, instead of seeing things as black and white, it allows you to see the grey. And I think that's, I think that sometimes, you know, especially as lawyers were so driven and focused on the end goal, we very rarely kind of step outside that bubble, and see the grey areas and the grey areas of where we can improve. And that's where the rejection for me falls into it's, it's okay, sometimes it's worded in a way, where you know, you may not be good enough for this firm, or we don't see you as an ideal candidate at this stage. But that's just kind of, you know, menial words, you can just kind of leave them behind and take the rejection, use it as fuel and use it as something positive that you can kind of say, Okay, I'm going to disregard all the negative connotations with that rejection, and use that to move forward positively. 


Scott Brown  (3:18)   

Yeah, a lot of good stuff there. Absolutely. In for throughout, I think that applies, wherever you are, and across different professions. And what was the first time or where did you first experienced that rejection in, in your career or in law? 


Troy Atkin  (3:36)   

I think it's probably hard, because there's been so many times to pinpoint the exact time, but I can, you know, I can give you examples of times where rejection definitely stood out. And that is certainly as many, you know, many people may be listening will relate to is that applying for training contracts or applying for entry level roles, it's, it's no secret that it's extremely difficult to get into the industry, regardless of whatever grade you've got, regardless of whatever experience you've got, sometimes your best might not be enough. And that is quite, that's a hard pill to swallow. And it's, it's about getting back up brushing yourself off and just pushing forward and realising that, that opportunity might not have been meant for you. So, you know, there's been, I've been rejected 200 250 times from from law firms, you know, but I kept applying, I kept, you know, persevere, I kept being annoying to them. Because at the end of the day, you know, I think the reason I think rejection is so good in this sense is that initially, it's very hurtful. And it's you take it personally, and you and it's very, it's a very emotional thing. Because if you're spending years of your life studying to this one thing and to be told you're not good enough by someone you may look up to or you think that this firms ideal for you and they say no, then obviously that's going to be a massive setback to you But if you keep going, you become not hard into it, but you become kind of you build up a bit of more tolerance to that rejection. And you see it as something that you can build on, rather than something that's final. Because if we see it as final, then we're never going to progress. So for me, the first 50 of those rejections were heartbreaking. And I swore I'd never apply again, and I thought, This is it, I'm going to do another profession, I can't do this. But I just kept going. And something in me just changed. And I just felt like, well, I'm still here. And someone gave me some advice once and this has stuck with me all throughout my training application cycles is that every time someone gives up, your chance of progressing increases. So just keep just keep going. Because eventually, enough people will give up that you'll be able to take someone's spot. Now you can see that as in a well, you're taking someone spot and your second best, or you can see that as in Well, it's actually a rat race. And it's you need to just continue to need to keep going. Because more or less nine times out of 10 it's luck that lands you in these positions, then actually, you know, in my personal experience. 


Scott Brown  (6:14)   

I agree there's a lot of a lot of that luck and perseverance and giving yourself the opportunity that luck and opportunity meet through that perseverance. In terms of those rejections, were those from formal application programmes? Or were those from getting your foot in the door and being rejected? Or how did those have those shaped? 


Troy Atkin  (6:33)   

Well, they initially, they were shaped in the form of going through the TCF application route online, submitting, you know, you know, is spending hours doing an application, pouring your heart and soul onto this page, thinking this time is going to be it and then it wasn't, or you wouldn't hear back. And I made a point as well, I would I would apply, I would then the weeks before my application, I would go on to LinkedIn, I'd find out the HR people, I'd reach out to some trainees or whatever. And then after I've applied, I'd thanked for HR for considering my application in due course, looking forward to that I then call a few weeks later. So it wasn't just an application for me it was really invest it was an investment of time. And I'm so aware of time and that it just keeps ticking by and each day that goes passed and I didn't secure as TC I was I was just also conscious that time was passing. And I think that adds to the anxiety and you know of things because you just are so uncertain of what's going to happen. I mean, when when I finally got my foot in the door, that's kind of when things started to change for me. And I always laugh because I spent four years being rejected for training contracts. And it actually just took me four days to get this one. And I actually have it written down the exact time it took 21 minutes and 38 seconds for the MD of viscose to offer me a container contract in the interview. And I remember and I wrote that down, and it's just stuck with me, because I felt so surreal. And you know, but that was four years of interview practice application practice. And on top of being rejected in terms of just not being replied to or saying you're not the ideal candidate, I got to the latter stages, many times, you know, going through 789 10 stages of application, interviews, tests, personality tests, things like that, where, you know, you're going through a computerised system where they're trying to work out your personality through without even speaking to you. But you play along with it, because that's the game. But I'm so grateful that I'm here where I am now and, and I'm a big believer in things happen for a reason. You know, I'm, I've always believed that I'm someone that needs to study law to help people and practice law for that regard. And wherever I end up as long as I'm in a firm that nurtures me and understands and lets me just kind of do my thing which viscose do fantastically? Then I'll be happy. So I'm glad to be here. 


Scott Brown  (9:18)   

Yeah, sounds like the right thing came along. And you were you were on that journey for a reason. As you said, I personally, not the mother's about about me, but I seem experience applying for training contracts out of uni and just never fell at home in that formal interview process I think didn't probably invest quite as much time. But the sounds of it but the opportunity came up through a football competition a five a side football competition and I happened to meet with the the training partner, one of the managing partners of the firm that I ended up qualifying through had a chance conversation with him off the record really and then it led it led From there, and it's about like getting your foot in the door, and back in yourself that when I'm given the opportunity, and it's not just on what's on paper, or what I'm what I'm putting down in a formal process that I made by myself every every day. But it's important, like you said, to not take the knocks and take them to take them to personally. What What advice would you give someone that's in that position, just now aspiring lawyers? What piece of advice do you give them?  


Troy Atkin  (10:29)   

Probably something that's extremely simple. And it's just don't give up. If you want it, don't give up, it will come. Just keep it simple. Keep your eyes on the prize. And just keep moving forward. Take the rejections in your stride. Similarly, as well, don't feel too bad. If you feel horrible about being rejected, you know, your feelings are valid in that sense. But embrace that, feel it, let it go and just keep moving forward. As long as you're moving forward. That's fine. 


Scott Brown  (11:00)   

Onto lesson number two, 


Troy Atkin  (11:02)   

yeah, I think it kind of links in quite nicely. And it's something that lesson one tries to kick out of us. And that's to be yourself at all times possible is to just kind of know, know your values, understand your worth, and what you can bring to the table. And understand that it's important to, you know, to may sound a little, you know, cliche, but love yourself through the process. It's so easy to get caught up in trying to shape your personality into a mould of someone else's idealistic candidate. So, you know, when you're going through these applications, a lot of the times I felt I fell foul of it as well, when I was doing the questions that they asked you in some of the application cycles, what would the firm want me to say? What would they want me to be like? And that's completely goes against everything I believe in. Because at the end of the training application cycles, I was just being myself, I didn't care if they rejected me or not, because I was fully in the mindset of, well, it's their loss. You know, I know what I bring to the table. And if they don't want that, then fine. And that's it, move on. And it's, it's being yourself, I think, is one of the most difficult skills that you can do probably in any profession. But in a profession like ours, it's fraught with imposter syndrome. It's fraught with egotistical kind of personalities, clashes, it's quite an arrogant kind of hedonistic environment, where you have to kind of just always remember why you started, why you're doing this, and just with the full belief that you deserve to be here, because and sometimes I do, I think, Am I doing the right thing? Am I giving the right, you know, advice to clients or with my supervisors or whatever? You know, well, I've done three years of a degree a law degree, I've done a postgraduate, I've got a master's in law, I've done I've earned my stripes paralegal in and now I'm in a law firm on a training contract, it's, you know, you can't be that bad. And whatever stage you are in that journey, you know, it's very, as I said before, it's so easy to get caught up in the in the bubble of the law industry, a way that helped me kind of understand it is this, it's, as soon as you get to the top of whatever part of your legal journey you're in, you're immediately thrust into the bottom of the next stage. So you never get a chance to kind of appreciate where you are. Because you're always always in with people that are either more senior than you more qualified, or even that you may think that they're better at what they do than you are. So for example, as soon as you finished your law degree, you're in with postgraduates. I've got training contracts, things like that. Soon as you finish your postgraduate degree, you're in as a trainee, hopefully, or wherever. And then you're surrounded by partners, associates, solicitors, barristers. So if you're someone, that's my mindset, and I'm always looking to progress, I'm always looking at that next step, I'm driven to succeed because I want to get to a goal, my goal, you know, but what I need to always remind myself is that, at the end of the day, I'm just an ordinary bloke trying to do extraordinary things. And that is in that's in the legal profession, and I can't get too caught up in all the you know, all the chatter that goes on within the profession, just focus on myself, why did I start and that is simply to help people and and that's it, there's no there's nothing else to that. 


Scott Brown  (14:41)   

Just coming back to the Be Yourself point. There's obviously a lot there that's relevant to diversity as well within within law firms are having that confidence to be yourself and and represent yourself how you feel is true. I guess what was your worst case scenario in that because you're talking about rejection and less than one if it got To the point where I need to conform, because that is that is what you were talking about here conforming to what the answers that they want, and then providing those answers. What was your What did you ever have over? The worst case scenario might be that I don't law isn't for me. 


Troy Atkin  (15:16)   

I think, you know, just kind of relating to a question there in kind of diversity and things like that it's, I'm a big advocate of mental health and pushing that and having serious conversations, without the fluff about people that are in the legal industry and discussing that. And sometimes that is not always well received. Because I think, you know, I'm not going to paint the legal industry, as, you know, a historic dinosaur ridden profession. But at times, it seems as if we need to move forward and be more inclusive and diverse. And by by sharing my mental health story, okay, I only attract people that kind of like that, and that's fine. But sometimes there have been times where I've been pulled to one side and said, maybe this is you shouldn't be doing this, maybe you should be a bit more quiet about what you're what you're talking about. You know, this could have repercussions on your career, your clients aren't going to want to be with someone that talks about this, like you do. Those are all those are all things I've been pulled aside of untold. And just a caveat that none of no one at this, the Briscoes has said that this has been a previous places that I've been the person that I am, luckily, I'm very, I don't care what you say, This is me, I'm going to do it because there's a bigger purpose here. I would rather annoy 1000 people and help one, you know what I mean? So I won't stop doing what I'm doing. But on the other hand to that being yourself, and in a profession that is not quite there, in my opinion for diversity inclusivity I think that a lot of the time, it's a tick box exercise. And I think people that are going through issues relating to diversity and inclusivity can see straight through that. And I think that's where anger and frustration comes from. Because there's it's not being taken seriously. And if I'm being you know, if I'm being told the things that I've been told, Well, I'm just lucky I you know, I can take that in a relatively in my stride. But some people may be, you know, a little less tolerant of that. And understandably so. And I think there needs to be real change there. 


Scott Brown  (17:38)  

Absolutely. I think we could talk we could talk all day on that subject. But But yeah, some of the stuff you're seeing there, it's ringing a lot of bells and the stuff that you do external and keen to talk more about the the weightlifting lawyer, but has no impact on how you can deliver legal advice. So someone's giving you feedback on that wasn't a strong enough piece of work that you did for that client, then obviously, you have to be receptive to that. If they're a more experienced lawyer, however, this is this is separate, it's something that you're bringing yourself to, to work, it seems. 


Troy Atkin  (18:11)   

And I think as well importantly, it's, you know, I don't always it's not that I'm not open about it. But you know, I became sober nearly three years ago, because there was something in my life that wasn't giving me positive outcomes. So I decided to change it. And I took out the negative thing that was, you know, the issue that was in my life, I became sober, you know, stop with a cigarette start with a night out stuck with that, and I really made a change, and I pledged on the day I became sober was, I'm going to really use this positively to help other people. And I couldn't, I couldn't give a monkey's what anyone thinks about that. Because I have a real belief that what I'm doing is good. And if people you know, unfortunately, some people react negatively to positivity, but that's just a reflection of themselves. But yeah, I think you know, in a profession that loves to drink and everything else that comes with it, it is kind of a shock when I tell people no thank you I don't drink or and a lot of the time you know going back to being yourself I always feel like I have to qualify it by and powerlifting as a good kind of blanket safety blanket to that because I can just say I'm training tomorrow you know, when in reality in my head I'm thinking well I don't drink because it didn't serve me a purpose. And I don't judge people that do you know I just it's just a decision that I made and I'm I can tell you this the people that might think it's Oh, It's Troy doesn't drink well, the client the clients that I have will get a Troy that is not only Bulldog, ation, determined to get them a win, but I'm crisp, I'm clear. You know, I'm always well rested, and I'm ready at any moment to deliver the best result for that. Client because I'm enthusiastic, motivated, and, you know, ambitious for for them to, to achieve the goal that they want to do. Because if I've taken all negative influence out of my life, and I've just thrown it away, and I face up to and I'm accountable, and I face up to everything head on, if I look after myself like that, while I see myself as a reflection of how I'll treat my client, I will treat my client the exact same way to that elite standard that I hold myself to. So that's, you know, that's just a little overview of that. 


Scott Brown  (20:32)   

Nothing is good. So tell us the the inspiration and the start of the journey on Instagram. When did it when did it come around 


Troy Atkin  (20:40)   

that account, I think, early to 2019, I think when I kind of got into powerlifting, pretty much Seriously, I've been watching a few of my best friends have been powerlifting for the years preceding that, and I've been to competitions, and I've watched them compete. And as you're very well know, watching people compete, if you're a competitive person, you always think, Oh, I could beat them, or I want to go in there and try it myself and seeing the crowds and things like that. It was just, it was really infectious. And I really wanted to be a part of it. So I made an Instagram account to be just to be accountable. And, and originally, the Instagram account was purely just to post lifting videos, and to connect with other people that were doing that and powerlifting ended up getting a coach a little later in the year. And then it really became serious and like everything, you know, you think you think you know everything when you start. But as you get on, and you get more experienced, you realise, in fact, you know, nothing. And that is when the Real learning can begin, when there's no ego there, when there's just a real real will to, to just learn and improve and get better. And, you know, I wrote my goals down the first day I got a coach. And the goal was to be the number one bench presser in the UK. Now my goal is to just be a bit better than myself yesterday. So I've changed and that was where the real improvement came for me was when I stopped competing with other people. And I just competed against myself. And when I started doing that the improvements were unbelievable. And I mean, you know, I've been competing now for a year. Well, the start of this year. And I'm third in the UK at bench and I'm second in England. So it's not I'm not doing too badly. But it's it's all it's all about just persevering and just keep going, you know, keep improving. 


Scott Brown  (22:37)   

What do these competitions look like?  


Troy Atkin  (22:44)   

We're not talking strong man brands and brands strongman comps that used to be on the telly or we know funnily enough, he said that I did do a strongman competition a few weeks back, just to dip my toes into that, that was a great experience, but for probably not one that I would want to continue. But in terms of powerlifting, it's, it's set up as reverse, the first one is local. So you'll do you'll, if you're new to it, we'll do a local competition that might consist of an in house competition or something like that, then you'll go regional, and at the regional competitions, it gives you an opportunity to qualify for the nationals. If you if you're lucky enough to qualify for the nationals, then obviously there's still selection there for European Commonwealth or world level as well. So the way it's set up is powerlifting. In the Division I compete in the IPF and GB powerlifting is kind of a an arm of the International powerlifting Federation. It squat bench and deadlift, so it's called a full comp. Or you can just do a bench press comp as well. So there's kind of two, two facets to that. I compete in both I compete in all three lifts, and I also compete in bench as well. I've got a competition coming up at the end of this month. And that that is just that's a regional level. I've already qualified so it's just kind of practice time on the platform. That's will prepare me for British bench in 2022 in February, and then I've got a full meet at the end of this year, where I'll secure my qualifying total to compete nationally next year. And I've set myself a goal within three years that I'll be world level for bench and all three lifts. 


Scott Brown  (24:23)   

Fantastic. How did you cope during lockdown? What's your What was your training regime last year? 


Troy Atkin  (24:28)   

I was very fortunate I moved back in with my parents when lockdown hit very fortunate that they've got the space that they have. And we already had some initial kit and I think the thing that I love about powerlifting and training or strength training is that it's a community that all kind of bands together and I was very lucky that the gym I was at rented out plates and bars and stuff. So coupled that with my coach giving me some weights and you know, a bit of inquisitive investigate On Facebook marketplace I managed to secure like a, like a little squat rack for 40 quid and as locked down went on, I just kind of that that's where I spent my money was trying to find little bargains and kind of unique ways to train. And in the end, I ended up with 280 kilos of weight. I bought a bench that would secure my way and the bar. And I had a place to squat bench and deadlift, and and we you know, in the end, we've, my dad's now got a fully functional gym there, you know, so, so it's it's just one of those things, you know? I think it's about the overcoming adversity point, isn't it? It was it was a horrible time for everyone. But if you really want something, you find a way to make it happen. And I was again I was I came out of lockdown physically stronger than when I went in it. I was hitting PVS in the middle of lockdown. And people were saying, Oh, how are you doing that? And it's just, well, you just try and do it. You just get on with it. But that Yeah, so I was very fortunate to do that. 


Scott Brown  (26:04)   

I heard you speaking to someone else. When I was doing some research just on a routine and having having having a set routine, keen to hear your comments on it in terms of mental mental wellbeing but seremi Having a workout or an exercise regime during during lockdown was was paramount for me just, it's almost like a meditation, I find just being able to switch off. And that's all you're focused on for however long, however long you're doing it. 


Troy Atkin  (26:28)   

Yeah, I completely agree. And I think it all goes for me everything all goes back down to my sobriety. And with that, in turn a routine is is not just for lockdown, but it's just just for like the day or the week or the month. A routine is is massively important in my opinion. But also what's what's as important is flexibility or allowing yourself flexibility in that routine. Because during lockdown, I became dependent on that routine. And if any think, put a spanner in the works and I wasn't able to do that routine or honour that routine, then I would become quite agitated. And quite upset that I couldn't do that routine. So I learnt to to be flexible with myself. So even now I have a set time that I train, I have a set time really that I eat, always go to bed at the same time wake up at the same time at the weekends as well. Because that is the routine I want to do. People can be boring, but you know, I'm trying to achieve something here. And you have to make sacrifices for stuff. And there's no it's no good me going to bed on a Saturday night at 1am. stuffing my face with McDonald's when I have to be up at 10am to do 230 40 kilo squats, you know, you have to be prepared if you want to achieve something. So yeah, you know, reverting back to your initial point is I do agree with your routine is massively important in it. And it helped me during lockdown. 


Scott Brown  (28:04)   

Back to lessons, Fox through your third lesson, 


Troy Atkin  (28:07)   

I think this, this last lesson is probably the most important to me. And it's being limitless in your goals and your pursuit of them. I think it's so important to dream big. And it's so important to approach things with an endless possibility that almost with with a childlike mentality to things in that way, you know, when we were younger? Why couldn't we be an astronaut? Why couldn't we do you know, why can't we be a rock star, you know, all this kind of stuff. And we lose that as we get beat down by life, we lose that as people tell us we can't do things. And I think being limitless in what you're trying to achieve is is so important. Because what it reflects is it it's your journey. It's your it's your path, it's your life. And the moment you stop being limitless. And the moment you place limits on yourself. Most of the time they're put there by other people, you hinder yourself and you hinder your progress and you stop moving forward. So that's what that to me is always the most important thing doesn't matter what anyone says to me, no one else is outside influence will ever influence the way that I'm going. And my goals or my goals, and I couldn't care if you are a partner of the top law firm in the world. Or if you're a professor or a teacher back in school, you will never ever tell me how I'm going to shake my career. Because I might get rejected another 250 times. But guess what, I'm coming and I'm not going to stop. And I'll keep chipping away and I'll keep going because I really truly believe in what I'm doing. And I truly believe that the goal I'm trying to achieve is for you know, it's for a bigger purpose and there are things you know I won't go into now but why I want to achieve in my future it's but as long as I'm helping people and as long as I'm doing that in a way which is progressive and it kind of has a knock on effect and I'm able to bring other people that can help him people as well. Then then, yeah, that suits me down to a tee. But, but that's that's the probably the three lessons that's the most important to me, is it but it kind of links in with one and two, but it's it's just be limitless in what you want to achieve and and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 


Scott Brown  (30:23)   

No, it's great. It's just inspirational and really positive and yeah, fantastic. Fantastic to hear it is I think within junior lawyers, with lawyers within any, like you spoke about imposter syndrome earlier been able to shake that that have that confidence, or unwavering confidence to go after your goals, and not let anyone put you down is fantastic. Great to hear. Just touching just going back. I didn't cover that earlier on just on the mental health side of things that be keen to hear your thoughts. Like I read recently that the international Bar Association had surveyed 3000 people and I think they found that one in 10 lawyers under the age of 30 suffer from from mental health, depression and suicidal thoughts. What mechanisms do you think people could put in place? What have you what have you put in place? And what as your, as your employer done anything to help and support? Yeah, so 


Troy Atkin  (31:17)   

I think, first and foremost, you know, I never believe these statistics when they come out. Because you know, I think I think one in three people it's been statistically proven, suffer with mental health at one stage, and you could probably deduct that one, a third is not, you know, 1/10. And I'm always very sceptical of law driven analysis of this subject that they don't really have an understanding or grasp about kind of going on to your second point, the mechanics of it, and how do I deal with like, what do I have in place for my mental health? First and foremost, it's, it's going back to that routine. And it's, it's kind of knowing the structure of your day, understanding that it's not always going to work out okay for you. But the simplest thing I can kind of describe my mental well being is, is this, it's when I first started my mental health journey, I had to rebuild my house, my house is me. And I was building the foundations of my house. And every time I was building that house up, there's still going to be wind, and there's still going to be the elements and all that rubbish coming in as well. But as you keep going, keep building resilience and building the bricks of your house, you're going to your house is going to come stronger, and you're going to become resistant to the elements and the elements or just the things that happen day to day and all that all the rubbish that comes with coming in and, you know, imposter syndrome, not being diverse or inclusive and things like that. And right now, my house is 99% built, and I think it will stay that way for the rest of my life. Because I don't think we're ever whole. We're always always able to get better. And I think I'm really lucky to be in a firm that, that encourages that kind of stuff. You know, what have they done for me will the second week of my training contract, I asked my MD If I could change my hours to accommodate my work much my weight training. And without asking why she said yes. And the next day HR sent me an email with my amended hours on and said, Thanks, Troy. You know, good luck with your weightlifting. Look, I think it's the little things, isn't it, it's making you feel valued as an employee, it's, you know, sending you emails on, I always get an email when I compete. Congratulations, the whole firm sinking about you, you know, that in more specifically in the actual department I'm in. It's, again, it's all supportive, and it's all you know, good luck. Let us know if you can do anything. I'm never ever made to feel like I have to work longer. I do because that's just how I am. And I'm that's something I'm trying to get better at. But I'm, you know, I'm never made to feel that I need to work outside my hours regularly. My boss is telling me to go home regularly, they say you need to leave the building. And that's something we need to change in the legal industry. Because I've worked at places where it's you're putting in it's a competition and you're competing against other people, maybe for a training contract. And in that competition, some days I'd be working seven days a week in the in the office because guess what he is or she is and you know, I can't I can't be seen to be at home. When I'm out of that environment. I know that's wrong, and that's toxic when you're in it, and you're vying for something. So the golden ticket of law, the training contract, you become seduced by those longer hours and you know, the prospect of something that is not likely to ever come. So, I think you know, I've kind of gone into different tangents with this. But I think mental health and mental well being in law is just is something that is tick box, and it's something that's overlooked massively. It's you know, I always laugh when I see the big firms putting out You know, these kinds of different schemes and whatever, and then it fizzles out and you never hear about it anymore. But what we really can do is it's, it's very simple. You look after your staff and you listen to what they're saying. 


So it's, you know, I can't speak for firms, because I don't know the way that they do things specifically. But I have, you know, had anonymous conversations with people from these firms, magic circle firms, London firms, international firms, and it is you are just treated because it's a money making machine, you're treated as another number. And unfortunately, I don't think that that can change because whilst whilst people are making so much money, nothing's going to change and, and so that's what I've directed my focus on trying to change these the way that these people think, and try and change the way people think through my own actions. So maybe one day, I'll open up my own firm, and it'll be a people before profits firm, and it'll be really focused on inclusivity. And the staff that drive it, not the money not, not the not the big clients, you know, we'd be lucky to have the clients, obviously, but the people that run a business, are your employees, and how you how you treat your employees as a reflection on how they'll treat the clients. Yeah, so it's all kind of it's a marriage really, that I think a lot of law firms not only don't get right, but probably they just don't care, they just don't care about. And that maybe that's why I'm always kind of, on the backfoot maybe that's why I'm a bit, you know, eager to, I've been called aggressive I've been called Bulldog ish, things like that. Whereas I, personally feel a hope that I come across in a way where it's, I all I want to do is encourage change. And all I want to do is encourage people to encourage change themselves by by seeing that this guy, so me, I've gone through a lot of rubbish in my life. Fine, we all do. But let's just let's move forward and we can make things work, we can still achieve what we want to achieve 


Scott Brown  (37:09)   

a wholeheartedly agree with what you're what you're saying about the big law firms, and they're the tick box. But people people like yourself across mental health and all areas of diversity and inclusion, if you have advocates in these businesses or within the profession, that is a step in the right direction. And it's people talking about it, making it making it on their agenda and having an interest in it rather than it being a corporate tick box. I think where things can change has to be from management level as well and potentially client side so the people that are actually paying these fees, what are the what are they looking from for from their firms. But yeah, loads of loads of great stuff they're trying really thanks so much for for joining me today. It's been been really good to hear your lessons, hear your views on on everything. And I appreciate you taking the time and opening up. 


Troy Atkin  (38:02)   

No, it's been it's been my absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me. And 


Scott Brown  (38:05)   

all the best with the next seats and the training contract and the future meets the powerlifting hope you get to that that goal next year. Thanks to crafty Council actually for introducing you to my pipeline really and making me aware of what you're doing. If people want to reach out how do they how do they follow get in touch? 


Troy Atkin  (38:26)   

Yep, I've got a I've got an open Instagram page at the underscore weightlifting underscore lawyer. So that's at the weightlifting lawyer. Always looking to make new friends new connections. So drop me a follow in or DM and go from there. 


Scott Brown  (38:40)   

Yeah, I could. I definitely vouch for checking it out. I've been following it for a couple of weeks and feeling fairly measly when I'm lifting. A lot smaller weights at the gym, but impressive, really impressive stuff. Thank you all for listening to lessons I learned in law. For more information on all of our guests, head over to heriotbrown.com/podcast. I'm Scott Brown, and I'll see you next time