Name: Mustafa Raniwalla
Firm: Simpson Millar
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: LLB (Hons), LLM
University: Nottingham Trent / Oxford Institute of Legal Practice
Hobbies: Cycling, running, cricket, computing, technology, socialising, travelling
Current department: LPC Road Traffic Accident Department
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 114/68
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I decided to train to become a solicitor because I knew it would be a profession that would provide me with all the challenges I want and crave in my career. For example problem solving, lateral thinking and engaging with people.
I also knew it would provide me with a career, rather than just a job that I would wake up and go to everyday. This was always important to me, because qualifying will provide me with the environment needed to apply my best qualities and progress in the legal market.
Solicitors are competitive creatures too and I definitely fit that category!
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
It is incredibly competitive. There are so many great legal graduates out there, with fantastic academics, personalities and out of work achievements. As such proving that you are the right fit in a firm and obtaining their faith and investment in you above everyone else is very tough. You have to deal with a lot of rejection and have the strength of character to keep working and applying to firms.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I would say it was a business related question, rather then a legal. I believe I was asked “How my firm can stay ahead in a competitive legal market that is constantly changing”.
My answer is that we would have to concentrate on our relationships with suppliers of work and maintain those relationships, as without those contracts and the work coming in, the firm would sink quickly. You can only supply legal services when you are actually supplied with good quality work.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I work in the Road Traffic Accident personal injury department as a litigator. This means I concentrate on disputes and cases that will have to go to court, be it for the value of the case, liability disputes or both.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Winning a trial where you have been working on a case from inception to completion is incredibly satisfying. Knowing that you have overcome all the arguments from the other side with hard work and applying your legal knowledge is a great feeling and definitely makes your head bigger!
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I would say the volume of work and how demanding it can be. I always knew that it would be hard work, but having to manage a large case load with complete autonomy and balance all the client’s needs can often be daunting. Perseverance and patience are two qualities you definitely need.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s a risk assessment from my manager about a case I am dealing with and the prospects of success on the case following my own file review.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The shared kitchen by the kettle.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Kind, honest, determined.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I lived in Japan for three years
- I have hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- I am still a brilliant cricketer
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would definitely be writer for a technology magazine. I absolutely adore gadgets and love new tech. What better way to express that love then to write about it for website, magazine or blog. Plus think about all the freebies!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Stick with it and never give up. It is a tough industry to be in, but if you keep working and improving your legal knowledge and understanding of the industry, only your own self doubt will stop you from succeeding.