Name: Tanpreet Rooprai

Firm: Watson Farley & Williams

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law LLB

University: Kings College London

Hobbies: Travel, reading, watching American TV shows, shopping

Current department: Corporate

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 10/2

Tanpreet Rooprai, WFW

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I had been interested in a career in law from secondary school so against the advice of my history teacher, who advised me to study history, I decided to study law at university. I attended various commercial law workshops / talks from commercial law firms whilst at university and it was from here that I knew I wanted to be a solicitor in the City. The idea of working in a multi-disciplinary, international law firm where every day varies appealed to me.

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

I would say my biggest challenge was tailoring my application forms so they were firm specific. As most firms ask similar questions on their training contract application forms, it’s easy to fall into the trap of copying and pasting answers and amending the name of the firm in the hope that the more applications you send out the greater chance you will have at securing a training contract.

I eventually realised that this was not necessarily the case, so my approach was to apply to fewer firms but research them in detail and speak to people working at the firm to see why the firm was right for me.

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

At my first assessment centre I was asked to talk to the interview panel about the challenges faced by the firm in the wake of the financial recession and how the firm could adapt to this.

Luckily, I had read an article on the steps law firms were taking to outsource some of their support functions so linked this to my answer. I was also working as a paralegal at another commercial law firm at the time who had restructured parts of their business so managed to put together a sensible answer.

It’s always helpful to be aware of current economic trends and news stories in the press around the time of your interviews as you never know what questions you may be asked!

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

I am currently in our corporate department. The department deals with a full spectrum of corporate and commercial matters from corporate finance, debt and equity capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and funds, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, intellectual property and commercial contracts.

As with all departments at the firm, the transactions are both domestic and internationally focused and clients include public and private businesses, investment banks, private equity houses and high-net-worth individuals.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I enjoy the six seat rotational system, which means I am constantly learning new things and meeting new people in the firm. The international nature of the firm means that we are always interacting with colleagues in other offices and there is a definite collegiate atmosphere at the firm.

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

I didn’t expect to be actively encouraged to get involved in transactions from the get-go. I felt part of the team quickly and this provides an excellent learning experience. I also didn’t appreciate the vast international exposure and multi-jurisdictional clients the firm has.

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

The most recent email in my inbox is from an associate in the corporate team who has copied me in to an email to our client requesting a copy of the signed board minutes. We are due to be signing today and the board meeting has to be held before the documents are signed. It’s always useful to be copied into emails so you can keep up-to-date of what’s going on in the transaction.

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

The kitchen or the secretaries!

Describe your training partner in three words.

Supportive. Knowledgeable. Inspirational.

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

  • I used to play the cello
  • I once met Theo Walcott in Nike Town in Oxford Street
  • I participate in the occasional triathlon

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

Probably a teacher or (in my dreams) a travel journalist!

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

Do not be afraid to be different. Make sure you research the firm before applying as although you have to sell yourself, they also need to impress you. You spend a lot of time at work, so it’s vital that it’s somewhere where you enjoy working! Always be enthusiastic and be nice to everyone you meet as you never know at what stage of your career you might meet them again.