Name: Mehjabin Ahmed
Degree Subject: Classics
University: University College London
Hobbies: Going to the theatre, writing plays and adrenaline-seeking activities.
Current Department: Employment
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
Growing up around lawyers, I sought work experience at various high street law firms from an early age and quickly decided that applying legal thought and being a trusted advisor was my calling. It was only when university exposed me to law fairs, law firm presentations and vacation schemes that I realised that the world of international corporate law existed. This shaped my goal of being part of a team of global lawyers and the first step is to complete a training contract at an international firm.
Why did you choose your firm?
Clifford Chance is one of the best law firms in the world and advises on many ground-breaking deals, but for me it is the friendliest, most diverse and pioneering firm. What truly drew me to Clifford Chance was that I formed genuine connections from every interaction I had with partners, lawyers and the graduate recruitment team from the firm. The biggest factor for me was the fact that CC understands the importance of a diverse workforce and values talent irrespective of background.
What has been the most exciting piece of work you have done, and why?
This is not specific to one piece of work but I really enjoy working on the employment aspects of multi-jurisdictional corporate deals. This usually has tight deadlines because of the fast-paced nature of share purchase agreement negotiations and it’s an exciting experience sourcing advice from local counsel from around the world to provide a unified product. It’s interesting how employment laws can vary in different countries and how the CC offices come together to provide innovative solutions for the client.
What does your typical day involve?
My typical day starts by checking my emails for any outstanding tasks and then getting on with my work which ranges between contacting clients (a mix of emails, calls and in-person meetings), drafting employment contracts and settlement agreements, working on tasks related to litigation and investigations, conducting due diligence of employment aspects of a corporate deal, completing research for ad-hoc advice for client HR teams and attending meetings and/or calls with my supervisor and partners. Also, there are monthly knowledge update sessions where the team are briefed on recent cases by our Knowledge Lawyer.
At lunch time I often go out to the little garden behind Canary Wharf station with some of my trainee intake and catch up.
I also try to go to the on-site gym, one of the benefits CC provides, for a quick workout as often as I can.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The people I work with and the international nature of most of the matters I work on.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
A career in law is all about perseverance. Do not give up and stay up to date with current affairs, get as much work experience as you can and keep refining and improving your applications.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Finding a firm where I felt a sense of belonging and could integrate into effortlessly. Being a visibly Muslim woman who does not drink made It especially hard to identify with firms that had strong drinking cultures. I was rejected by other firms after vacation schemes despite having great feedback about my work from partners and I think a large part of it was because I was not able to relate to lawyers in the same way as other vacation schemers who had a similar upbringing. It took a while but I ended up at the right firm which focuses on personality and talent.
How is law in practice different from studying law?
Law in practice is always centred around the client and unexpected issues crop up that you cannot always prepare for. You have to think outside the box and understand the client’s business needs, structure and strategy rather than just applying the law in isolation of these factors.
Firm address: 10 Upper Bank Street, London E14 5JJ
Telephone number: 020 7006 4005
Email address for graduate recruitment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Number of offices: 36
Training contract application deadline: 12th December 2019
Vacation scheme application deadline: 12th December 2019