29 March 2011
It is important to think about what type of lawyer you want to be and what area you want to go into. The best way to find this out is by doing work experience and internships.
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law with European study
University: University of Exeter
Where did you study the GDL and/or the LPC? College of Law, Moorgate
Hobbies: Travelling, skiing, reading
Department: Capital markets
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? I have been interested in law since a young age. What appeals to me most about law is its application to all aspects of daily life. After completing various placements and internships at several firms I knew I wanted to train as a solicitor because I thought it
would be stimulating and challenging.
Why did you choose commercial law? I wanted to work in an international, commercial and legal environment. I was interested in business and wanted the opportunity to work on global deals.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far? I have been lucky to have worked on a deal more or less from start to close. I also enjoyed trying to solve a legal problem a client needed advice on.
What does your typical day involve?
I am currently in the trustee team within capital markets so a significant amount of my time is spent analysing and reviewing transaction documents, and commenting on these.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Working on some of the biggest cutting-edge deals with brilliant lawyers at a great firm.
What are the worst aspects of your job? The work/life balance is not always great. It can be hard to predict your workload which can make it difficult to organise plans outside the office. Sometimes, due to long hours and the urgency of a deal, you can feel under pressure.
What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession? People often assume that all lawyers are essentially barristers, wear wigs and attend court. Commercial law involves a huge amount of commercial awareness as well as legal knowledge.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? It is important to think about what type of lawyer you want to be and what area you want to go into. The best way to find this out is by doing work experience and internships. When interviewing, you will be able to use these experiences to support your application. It’s also important to get involved in extracurricular activities as these will help demonstrate your range of skills.
What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career?
It is important to fill in application forms without errors as this shows attention to detail. An application should not be generic. The firm will want to see why you want a job specifically with it.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? There is a lot of competition. The most challenging part was the interviews, and these varied significantly. However, all the interviews were challenging and being well prepared in addition to being able to think on your feet was important. Studying law is academic and theoretical. In practice one must think more practically about the law and its application to clients’ issues. A fundamental skill is to be able to explain to clients what the issues are and how to solve them in non-legal language.
What are the common attributes of successful candidates? A successful candidate not only needs to prove their intelligence but also demonstrate a range of skills, which include attention to detail, strong communication skills and commercial awareness. Interviewers like to see a rounded, person who can work well as part of a team.