How the graduate got the job and why they chose your company
I was offered a training contract at the end of my vacation scheme at the firm. AG was my pick for several reasons.
First, I wanted a firm which valued my previous experience. I had been a paralegal and assistant company secretarial in my previous role. After meeting the trainees from AG, it was clear that the firm embraced people from a range backgrounds and experiences. This confirmed my choice of AG because I wanted to work at a firm that valued diversity of experience and background.
Second, I wanted a firm where I would receive great training and exposure. On my vacation scheme, I saw the type of work, the high level of responsibility and client contact trainees received. It was clear to me that AG gives trainees the opportunity to be challenged and pushed to be better. For me, receiving great training is fundamental for the rest of my career and at AG I believed I would receive this.
Third, I wanted to work at a firm with a number of market leading areas of practice. For me, this was important as I wanted a well-rounded training contract. Working at a firm where there are several market leading practice areas for me meant being able to learn from experts in their field and being involved in interesting deals and matters in a number of areas of practice.
What the graduate’s role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
The area of practice influences the activities and responsibilities you are involved in.
My first seat, involved a lot of transactional work. Typical this involves drafting ancillaries, managing transactions, liaising with clients, dealing with due diligence, preparing for completion and dealing with post-completion.
My second seat has been a mix of transactional and advisory work. In an advisory seat, typical activities can involve researching questions raised by clients and assisting in drafting reports and advice notes.
What training the graduate has received
Trainees have to undertake the LPC prior to starting the training contract and thereafter, trainees are required to complete the professional skill course. The course is spread across two years at the firm. Specifically, each department will hold training for their lawyers on current issues or areas of interest on specific areas of law.
If the graduate is on a structured/formal scheme, what that involves
The training contract consists of four six month seats sitting in various departments across the firm. The seat can be contentious or non-contentious; however each trainee must complete a contentious seat.
Highlights of the work the graduate has done
Highlights of the work that I have done in the past year include going to a director's house to arrange signing of transaction documents and having to explain each document and why he had to sign. I've also had the opportunity to manage transactions which has included liaising with foreign counsel the night of completion on a last minute issue, liaising with the other side and attending signing meetings. I've also had lots of drafting opportunities and a highlight is being given the opportunity to draft a subordination deed. On a deal on which I am currently working, I have become the contact point for a client which has involved daily calls.
What the graduate enjoys about their job
For me, see a deal to completion gives me great satisfaction. The results of my hard work become tangible.
I enjoy liaising with the client and feeling like a trusted partner helping our clients achieve their goals - it's very fulfilling helping a client complete a project which is critical to the growth of their business and achievement of their objectives.
From a development perspective, I enjoy being challenged to be a better lawyer. Being encouraged to take an active role in transactions help me achieve this and at AG I am given that opportunity.
What challenges the graduate has faced and how they have overcome any difficult situations – what support has been provided
During each seat there are different challenges.
Initially I found it difficult to build connections and network; I am by nature a conservative and quiet person.
My trainee cohort has been very supportive, I found talking about what I was going through with other trainees was extremely helpful. Some of them were going through the same problems that I was. I encourage new starters to build real connections with their trainee cohort - they will be a large part of your support network and usually the first people you turn to when you have a problem.
To feel like what I was feeling was normal was extremely comforting. I overcame it by focusing on why I had chosen the path of being a solicitor. I also focused on advice which I had received from trainees and mentors - you had to prove yourself in your work and the responsibility and trust would follow.
Why they like working for you and anything that is particularly perky!
I like the people I work with, I like the culture of the firm and I like that I can genuinely call my trainee cohort friends. There not a lot of places where you can work with people who end being your friends.