How I secured the job and why I chose Dentons:
I secured my training contract following a summer vacation scheme at Dentons. The vacation scheme gave me an insight into what life is like as a Dentons trainee. During the vacation scheme, I was invited by my trainee buddy to attend one of the lunch time training sessions in which I experienced first-hand how much support the firm gives to its people. Another reason I chose Dentons is to do with my pro bono work during my study at Queen Mary. I volunteered as an assistant at Poplaw Clinic which is a Dentons' own pro bono clinic. I had a chance to shadow Dentons' solicitors and ask them about their experience at Dentons. This interaction gave me a positive impression on the firm which convinced me as to why Dentons. Having had this experience, I was not surprised when the Training Principal partner said pro bono clients are equally important as the billable clients during his welcoming talk. Moreover, Dentons is a very innovative firm. Seeing Dentons grow with multiple mergers across the world and establish a new norm in the legal market such as Nextlaw Labs, I was assured that it is definitely a fascinating time to join the firm. Last but not least, having an international background myself, Dentons' international proposition, especially being polycentric without a dominant culture, appealed to me a lot. Now as a trainee, I am definitely taking advantage of Dentons' global nature by getting involved in cross border transactions.
What my role involves - typical activities and key responsibilities:
It does vary on a daily basis. So far, I have reviewed acquisition agreements and drafted transactional documents such as termination agreements and novation agreements. I was asked to do some research around company law and financial regulations in answering clients' queries. I also conducted a company search, contributed to writing up a due diligence report and updated an exchange/completion document list as a deal progressed with time.
What training I have received:
Although I just joined the firm about a month ago, I have received an array of trainings encompassing two-week general induction, IT and library sessions and department-specific trainings. The induction equipped me with all the necessary fundamentals for example how to use the firm's internal systems and where to find precedents. In corporate where I sit at the moment, we have corporate trainee trainings every Friday and corporate group trainings every Thursday which give me invaluable insight into a variety of corporate practice areas. I can freely attend trainings organised by different departments too.
Structure of training contract:
I am to spend four six-month seats in different departments experiencing a variety of practice areas and various aspects of the firm. Dentons also encourages trainees to participate in pro bono initiatives. It is compulsory for trainees to attend Pop law clinic two or three times per year which helps us develop transferable skills along with an early client exposure. All trainees have the opportunity to go on an international or client secondment at least once during our training contract at Dentons.
Despite having spent a considerably short time at Dentons yet, I have had numerous highlights. One of them is when I assisted my supervisor in a multi millions deal where 17 jurisdictions and 15 or so Dentons offices were involved across the world. It was particularly challenging to communicate and work in collaboration with the large size of team. This meant sometimes I had lots of long days and occasional late nights. However, seeing how the deal was progressing and being negotiated was genuinely interesting although despite a stiff learning curve. After the agreement was executed, I was responsible for sending out the final composite agreement to every stakeholder in this deal where I compiled the main agreement and a number of annexures which were negotiated until the very last minute. When I was asked to do this, I felt I was not experienced or senior enough to have this much responsibility but at the same time I could feel that my supervisor trusted me this much. It was an absolute highlight to see the deal I worked on was published on the business press and it was only my third week at the firm!
What I enjoy about the job:
I really enjoy the nature of work - very challenging and intellectually stimulating. I like the fact that I constantly learn everyday and there is no right or wrong answer to a problem raised. Whereas it was just reading and learning law at university, now I analyse bits and pieces of law and apply it into a real-life context to answer clients' queries or make a client's proposed plan in accordance with law. I like this feeling of helping my clients with my legal knowledge and skills. I do feel highly rewarded. I also like that I gain not only legal knowledge but also soft skills. By communicating with the other party's lawyers, clients or people from other departments, I continuously learn effective communication skills and how to work in a team.
I have not faced any overwhelmingly difficult situations yet and I think this is mainly because people at Dentons are genuinely really supportive. Whenever I am stuck in the middle of my task, I go back to the person who gave me the work with the result I have so far and the queries I have. Everyone I have worked with is willing to teach me patiently and gives me another chance to have a go rather than dictating me what to do. Whenever I have some problems with IT, I always call our dedicated IT team right away who is available 24/7! The library team is also available to answer any queries regarding research or databases. Most importantly, the supervisor who shares the office with me helps me to overcome any difficulties. Once I was overwhelmed by the number of emails I receive every day, he gave me magical tips on organising emails.
Why I like working for Dentons:
I am happy to come into the office everyday (I am not even lying!). I believe law firms are all about people and I do enjoy working with people at Dentons. Associates and partners I work with appreciate and acknowledge my work even if I do not put any substantial inputs. It inevitably motivates me to learn more and work harder. I feel privileged to learn under the supervision of superb mentors.
It is also interesting to see how international nature of the firm is embedded in the nature of work I do daily. Every deal I work on have cross-border elements and certainly not every law firm is capable of handling this kind of deals. Lastly, it is fascinating to see the firm grow every week. The Manging Director of the UKMEA region, Lisa circulates Good News Friday which summaries what is going on across the UKMEA office. It is exciting to be part of this thrilling wave of growth and innovation.