I applied directly for a Training Contract at Baker McKenzie in the summer of my second year at the University of Nottingham.
The primary requirement I had when looking for a company to train with was an international outreach; I knew that I would enjoy the excitement that would come with cross-jurisdictional work and dealing with such a variety of clients. However, I was also aware that I wanted to work for a firm who would value my assistance and therefore encourage me to learn as much as possible over the two years. Baker McKenzie delicately balances a global proximity with values that embody those of a smaller firm. The organic path of growth that Baker McKenzie has taken ensures that the firms friendly and inclusive culture is foregrounded, making each day of work really enjoyable.
The training contract structure allows you to experience four key practices for six months each. The seat rotation policy helpfully ensures that you will be able to experience different areas of law, with it being mandatory to complete a transactional and contentious seat. The training contract commences with a two-week induction programme but each department also provides very thorough department-specific training.
Whilst work obviously varies between departments the usual tasks of a trainee includes researching (either niche points of law for advice or wider industries for client pitches), drafting legal documents and liaising with clients and other advisers. Each department has a Trainee Partner who oversees trainee development to ensure that we all get a variety of experience to develop a range of skills. I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of responsibility given to me since starting at the firm and the associated strengthening of client relations.
There are so many things going on outside of work at Bakers from charitable activities to sports. I regularly volunteer at the Legal Advice Centre and in December I am going on a Help Refugees Trip to Calais with a group of trainees. This year I attended the Baker McKenzie Fluency Cup in Belfast, a weekend football tournament between all global offices which was great fun. We also have tag rugby and netball teams who play on a weekly basis and a variety of yoga and pilates classes at the office.