Having completed one year of my training contract at DLA Piper, I can honestly say I have enjoyed my time here thoroughly.
I chose to apply to DLA Piper because I was aware that working at the firm would provide me with the opportunity to be involved with substantial matters and to work with highly-regarded clients. I was also attracted to the different size of the teams within DLA Piper’s offices. It’s great to have the opportunity to be part of a larger international team as well as a smaller team, which enables room for trainees to play an integral role. I applied to the Manchester office because the variety of seats on offer was attractive. My interest was cemented after experiencing the culture of the firm and speaking to the trainees. I felt as though there was no “type” of trainee sought after, and that trainees were simply asked to work hard and to work well with others. I can confidently say my time here so far has proven this to be true.
A typical life in the day of a trainee varies from seat to seat; however, I have found that I am always treated as a valued member of the team and am relied on to a great extent.
Typical trainee roles can involve:
(1) taking control of project management and keeping track of where the team are on a matter, what is outstanding and what the team should be doing going forward;
(2) research tasks where notes are prepared either internally or for the client;
(3) attending calls with the other side and with the client;
(4) being responsible for drafting documents in order to keep a matter moving; and
(5) drafting emails and letters of advice.
There is always training provided at the beginning of a seat which allows us to become familiar with the work and to meet the trainees in the same seats across different offices. We will also attend team training sessions throughout a seat, which may be on any legal or sector developments. I attended an interesting training session during my time in Corporate on competition law and the impact it will have on mergers and acquisitions, which was led by our competition team in London.
My highlights thus far have been completing on large, time-pressured projects where a number of offices or teams within the office have been involved. I have found DLA Piper to be well integrated across offices, for example in my first seat Real Estate I was involved in a project involving the purchase of a portfolio of properties within a tight deadline which was led by the Manchester office. I had the vital role of liaising across offices, with the other side, with the client and keeping track of progress being made. I found that this was a great learning experience which challenged me. It also allowed me to experience every stage of a transaction when representing the purchaser.
I have also found that we are extremely well supported at DLA Piper, whether it is by graduate recruitment, HR, supervisors, junior members of a team or by fellow trainees, there is always someone to turn to and to seek advice from if needed.