Name: Peter Darby

Firm: Mayer Brown

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law

University: University of Manchester

Hobbies: Cricket, Football, Travelling

Current department: Financial Services Regulatory and Enforcement

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 8/5

Peter Darby, Mayer Brown

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

Law is a fundamental part of the day-to-day life of everyone yet many know very little about it. Training as a solicitor allowed me to combine my fascination in the law with my interest in business.

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

Improving my interview technique was important. The careers service at university was extremely helpful and gave me the opportunity to practice in mock interviews. I would recommend taking these opportunities, it can only help.

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

What strategy I would use to end the war in Syria? I used my knowledge from reading the papers and watching the news to ensure I gave an up-to-date answer.

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

FSRE is an advisory seat and there are contentious and non-contentious aspects to the department. The majority of the work relates to advising clients including banks, insurers, funds etc. how to implement UK, EU and US financial services legislation across their organisations. The department also advises on investigations into these clients from regulatory bodies. Client contact is very common for trainees in this department. There is a lot of black letter law which is constantly evolving.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Being able to work with some of the biggest organisations in the world is extremely exciting. Most matters I work on relate to issues which are regularly reported in the press.

As a trainee you get to work as part of a team and as a seat progresses it is really rewarding to feel like an important part of that team. Making valuable contributions to matters is extremely satisfying.  

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

I did not expect to be able to get involved in such a wide variety of activities outside of the office. In two months I have played cricket in the indoor centre at Lords, played in a charity five-a-side tournament and have been involved in a number of pro bono projects.

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

From the firm’s court clerk asking what position I would like to play in an upcoming football tournament.

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

The secretaries.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Knowledgeable, approachable, interested.

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

  • I have slept on an erupting volcano
  • I swam with hammerhead sharks without a cage in the Galapagos Islands
  • I have met the Queen

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

Growing up I wanted to have a career in politics.

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

When applying for training contracts it is important that you choose the right firm for you. It is a two-way process: make sure that you apply to firms where you would want to work. If successful you are going to spend a minimum of two years at a firm, it is crucial you like the work, people and culture.