Name: Luke Addison
Firm: Womble Bond Dickinson
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law (1st Class Hons)
University: Cardiff University
Hobbies: Cycling, Golf, Theatre, and Whisky (not at the same time)
Current department: Projects and Procurement
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 15/10
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I knew I wanted to work in law, so for me the decision was whether to pursue a career as a solicitor or as a barrister. Whist it was the idea of advocacy which drew me to law in the first place, I opted to train as a solicitor in part because I saw myself as more of a transaction lawyer than a litigator, but also because I prefer working in a team.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
I think I struggled to know what firms were really looking for. Everyone uses phrases like “commercial awareness” which are actually quite abstract. Unless you’re settled on your own definition of commercial awareness, you’ll never persuade a recruitment partner that you’re commercially aware. It was only after my first few (unsuccessful) applications that I worked this out, and came up with my own definition.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I was asked to predict the “biggest threat to the legal profession over the next five years and how to guard against it”.
I can’t remember precisely what I answered, but I think that the thrust of my answer was that rather than trying to “guard against” such developments it should seek to exploit them, and position itself for future success. My interviewer liked that.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
The team works on a mixture of public and private sector projects. While I’ve been in this seat I’ve had a broad range of work, from advising a global energy company on an acquisition in West Africa, to acting for two County Councils on the refinancing of separate PFI-funded projects.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
There’s a lot to enjoy as a trainee in a firm like Womble Bond Dickinson, because there’s always so much going on for the trainees to get involved with, from charity fundraising to work socials. But what I really enjoy is seeing my work go out to clients, and agreements that I’ve drafted being signed at completion meetings. At the end of the day, client work is what it’s all about.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my colleagues’ company so much. The trainees are a close-knit group, and we have regular socials. But I think that’s true at lots of firms. The thing that surprised me was the fact that the sociable attitude runs right through the firm, whatever the seniority. I’ve had a great working relationship with each of my supervisors, and it’s not uncommon (or uncomfortable) for a good number of partners to be in the pub with us on a Friday.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s a very short email from a client, confirming the arrangements for a meeting at their offices later in the week.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
I don’t know – I’m always the last person to know gossip.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Affable. Intelligent. Caring.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I enjoy singing, and was in my first opera when I was 13.
- When my supervising partner and I were travelling through airport security, we’d had to take our shoes off to be scanned. I forgot to pick them up off the x-ray scanner, and started to walk off without them, before the partner pointed out I was only in my socks.
- I’ve climbed each of the four highest mountains in the Lake District.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Don’t get disheartened if (when) applications are rejected. Stick at it because it’s worth it. When you start, be open-minded and enthusiastic.