8 September 2008 | Updated: 18 September 2008 11:40 am
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“Students often take a scatter-gun approach to applying for training contracts but focused applications to firms you have researched are more likely to be successful.”
Name: Sally Jones
Firm: Berwin Leighton Paisner
Position: First-year trainee
Where did you study the LPC? College of Law, London
Hobbies: Cycling, dancing, running, reading, cooking and having fun with friends
Department: Real estate
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I took law at A-level and always found it really interesting. I had always intended to go to the bar, but having undertaken several mini-pupillages after my second year at university I decided that it wasnt for me. After graduating I worked as a professional support assistant in the financial markets department of Simmons & Simmons. I loved the work and found the corporate environment really stimulating. I knew at that point that I wanted to pursue a career as a City solicitor.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far?
My training contract has been quite work-hard, play-hard. The biggest high was when I completed my first major deal in corporate finance. It was an IPO (listing a company on the stock market) and when the prospectus was published, it was really exciting to see what I had drafted in print.
What does your typical day involve?
In corporate, it is hard to say what a typical day involves. While I was in the corporate department, I assisted with several M&A transactions and IPOs. My tasks ranged from drafting board minutes and contractual agreements to meeting with clients and organising completion meetings. This is always when the adrenalin starts pumping, with a huge amount to get signed and sealed and last-minute changes to documents being made and you are often trying to bring together parties who are sometimes on different sides of the world. The best part is when the champagne comes out and you know its time to celebrate and relax.
In real estate my days are a bit more easy to predict, but no less busy. I run several of my own files on smaller matters (under supervision, of course) and Ive also helped with several larger transactions, which usually means liaising with other departments in the firm and acting as a project manager.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I get paid to do something that I like and I dont dread getting up on a Monday morning. It combines a number of skills which keeps it challenging and each transaction that Im involved in is different, so I never get bored. As I write this, Im in an airport on the way to get a document executed in Jersey proof that every day really is different.
What are the worst aspects of your job?
I think the most frustrating part of the job is the inability to plan ahead because you are always at the mercy of the client.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Commercial law in a big City firm isnt for everyone, and it is really important to test drive a firm before you buy into it.
What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career?
Students often take a scatter-gun approach to applying for training contracts but focused applications to firms you have researched are more likely to be successful.