Gerard Chalkly-Maber, Lester Aldridge Name: Gerard Chalkly-Maber

Firm: Lester Aldridge

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Criminology

University: Durham

Hobbies: Hockey, Real Tennis, Tennis, Snowboarding and Travelling

Current department: Real Estate Development

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 20/3

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I have always found the law a fascinating subject, especially given its constantly changing nature, diversity and complexity. This, combined with the analysis, evaluation and teamwork required, made a career as a solicitor a perfect fit.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

The first challenge was trying to stand out in a huge crowd of applicants with similar qualifications and attributes. The second challenge was continuing to persevere through numerous rejections.

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

If you could be an animal what would you be?

A capuchin monkey – they never stop larking about and having fun, and the markings on their fur are iconic.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

My current department predominantly deals for large real estate developer clients which involves investigating the merits of prospective sites from a legal point of view, conducting the necessary due diligence prior to the purchase of a site followed by processing the transaction should the site be agreed, dealing with the necessary planning permission to develop the site and finalising ancillary matters to the site.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Dealing with clients on a day to day basis, especially when you are responsible for the progress of their matters, is very fulfilling, but being a member of a tight-knit team that works hard, has a laugh together and knows when to assist one another is also a very rewarding feeling.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

I had not anticipated quite how intense the feeling of being a rabbit lost in the headlights at the start of each seat would be, even after studying some of the seat’s aspects during the GDL or LPC – thankfully everyone is very understanding and encouraging though and you soon get to grips with what is going on.

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

It is from a friend providing a convincing argument to go to “McDonald’s” for lunch.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

The kitchen on floor 1.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Encouraging, manic and industrious.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I am mates with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • I can perform a round-off backflip.
  • I enjoy playing “Pooh sticks”.

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

A travel journalist. I mean, why not?

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

I would advise them to be diligent, focused and determined. Passing the exams, gaining the work experience and obtaining a training contract will not simply happen, you have to seriously want it. Law is not a career for those unsure of what to pursue.