15 August 2013
BLP trainee Victoria Morton says that intellect isn’t the only attribute that solicitors need.
Name: Victoria Morton
Firm: Berwin Leighton Paisner
Position: First-year trainee solicitor
GDL or LPC: LPC at BPP Leeds
Hobbies: Scuba diving, golf, gym
Department: Banking and Capital Markets
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I undertook various work experience placements to help confirm my decision that a career in law offers a challenging and continually stimulating environment with lifelong career prospects. I felt my skills were aligned with the common requirements of a solicitor.
Why did you choose your firm?
Berwin Leighton Paisner is a forward thinking firm with an excellent reputation for both its work and its training programme. Trainees are expected to take responsibility from an early stage and have the opportunity to complete seats in a variety of exciting practice areas. Prior to receiving an offer, I was particularly struck by the individuals I met; they were friendly and clearly very proud to work at BLP.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far?
Being given the responsibility to produce first drafts and assisting with amending documents on receipt of further transactional information. Then to see those documents circulated to the client and opposing counsel, and receiving positive feedback from both the client and the partner I was assisting.
What does your typical day involve?
Each day varies. One day I could be occupied drafting a document for a large transaction; the next I could be prioritising a series of tasks on various matters.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by your department?
The banking and capital markets team provides transactional and regulatory advice to a range of lenders and borrowers and advises a broad range of clients on a wide variety of capital markets products. For example some of our current transactions are bond issuances, securitisations, bank and corporate lending and work in the derivatives market.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The satisfaction that I am learning and developing every day combined with the variety of work undertaken by the department. The team is supportive and genuinely happy and willing to answer any questions that I ask.
What are the worst aspects of your job?
The nature of the work means that it can be difficult to estimate a finishing time for the day. It can sometimes be difficult for friends working in different industries to understand this when trying to make plans in advance. Flexibility is needed by the trainees, however the team is understanding of long-standing commitments outside of work that are difficult to cancel.
What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession?
There seems to be a misconception that the only or most important attribute of a successful applicant or lawyer is intellect. Academic ability is a basic requirement but there are a number of other attributes that both graduate recruitment teams and clients expect individuals to demonstrate.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
It is a competitive market so rejection is to be expected. Spend time researching firms online, at law firms and open days to help your decision on which type of firm to aim for.
What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career?
Students should avoid following their friends and peers in the natural progression from degree into the GDL, LPC and then into the application process. They should spend the time considering why they want to pursue a career in law, whether a legal career is best suited to them, and to decide what sort of firms they should/want to be targeting. It is a personal life defining decision that needs be seriously thought out.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
I made many applications and attended numerous interviews and received a lot of rejections over the years I applied. It is a competitive and difficult application process.
How is law in practice different from studying law?
While studying law, there is usually a prescribed answer to a legal question or research topic. In practice, you could spend hours researching and still be unable to find a definitive answer.
Studying law, it is appropriate to apply the law directly to the facts of the current problem. In practice, the simplest and most straightforward legal solution to a problem may not always be the most commercially viable option or one that the client wishes to pursue.
What are the common attributes of successful candidates?
Enthusiastic, hard-working, flexible and personable.