As the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, our cross-practice team has been working on numerous projects to support Birmingham 2022 in the delivery of the largest multisport events in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games. In addition to this, some of our people are representing our firm by joining the thousands of people in the Commonwealth Collective who are volunteering to support the delivery of the Games.
In the final blog post from our volunteers, we meet Helena Eyles to get an insight into her role at Gowling WLG and what she is most looking forward to as a volunteer for the Games.
Tell us about your role at Gowling WLG
I am currently an associate in Gowling WLG’s Projects and Infrastructure team, having previously joined the firm in 2018 as a trainee and qualifying in the Projects team in 2020. Prior to receiving a training contract, I also did a vacation scheme with the firm.
Most of my role consists of working on large contracts for Government clients, including tasks such as contract drafting, contract review and negotiating with clients.
Why did you choose a career in law?
I chose to do law for my undergraduate degree and was drawn to it because I like the analytical side of law. I had planned to go into family law but when I experienced the vacation scheme at Gowling WLG I became more interested in the contracts and commercial side of law.
During my time as a trainee I had seats in both Projects and Commercial, IT and Outsourcing, working with Government clients in both, and really enjoyed it which is what of led me back to the Projects team again.
I like that you get to see the tangible end result in Government work. One of my highlights is a case I recently worked on called Project Hawk in which we advised the Ministry of Defence on a £695 million investment. The team worked on the project for over two years so it was great to finally see this come to fruition after working with the clients over a long period of time. This long-term work made me feel like I was a part of something big and as it was such a high profile case it really gave me a sense of achievement and felt like my work really mattered.
What are you doing as a volunteer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games?
I will be working as an Information and Support team member for Events Services, based at the University of Birmingham.
The volunteers will be receiving role specific training soon so I am looking forward to finding out more about what my role will entail during the Games.
Why did you want to volunteer for the Games?
I studied law for my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham and then went on to do my LPC there too, so it feels very much like a second home as it is the only other place I have ever lived, other than my home county of Gloucestershire. I am proud to be supporting something so special for the city and I am also excited to be back at the university – it all feels very full circle.
It is similar to working in the Projects team as it is the opportunity to really feel like you are a part of something bigger. It’s definitely a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am looking forward to help bring the Games to life.
How do you think your day job will help you as a volunteer?
I am a good communicator, which I think will help me massively as an information point. My job in the Projects team also means that I am regularly solving problems and negotiating on contracts, so I think I will be good in any challenging situations.
What are you most looking forward to at the Games?
I’m looking forward to the normality that the Games will bring, especially after the pandemic. We’ll see so many people coming together, which will be great to see. I am hoping it will feel like a real celebration, not just for Birmingham but also for all the communities coming together. I’m also excited to meet people face to face and not over Zoom!
If you could compete in a sport at the Games what would you play and why?
Although I love watching the Games, I am not the sportiest person so it’s a tricky question. I like watching the diving but I’m scared of heights so that wouldn’t be a good one! I did ballet until the age of 18 so I’d have to go for rhythmic gymnastics as I may actually stand a chance in that.
To find out more about Birmingham 2022 and how we’re playing our part as the Official Legal Advisers of the Games, read our story so far.
About the author(s)
Helena is an associate in the Projects and Infrastructure team at Gowling WLG.