I was initially drawn to DLA Piper by its unique blend of high-profile, full service international work, alongside a friendly, approachable culture. The firm's global reach and broad client base suggested an unsurpassable quality of work, and opportunity for a wide range of experiences: a first impression that I now feel has been fully vindicated.
I was, and continue to be, impressed and excited by DLA Piper's global reach. The firm has always been defined by its ambition, particularly when it comes to expansion, and I was struck by how fearless DLA Piper had been in pioneering the development of global law firm branches in hitherto unexplored jurisdictions. This refusal to shy away from potentially risky decisions that could carry great rewards consolidated the idea that DLA Piper was, and remains, a thrusting law firm which carries the very principles of business at its core.
Having been given the opportunity to attend the Leeds office for interview, I was greatly relieved to discover that the firm's friendliness, openness and sense of community were far more than a recruitment brochure cliché. I have found this invaluable throughout my training contract: the relaxed and amicable office environment has enabled me to settle into my surroundings more swiftly, ask questions without hesitation, and feel an affinity and loyalty to my colleagues and firm that I believe brings out the best work that I am capable of.
An aspect of DLA Piper which I have always particularly admired is its commitment to corporate responsibility, in particular pro bono. I have made a concerted effort to get involved with as many projects as possible, and have found them singularly interesting and satisfying. My continued involvement with pro bono work has led to the extraordinary opportunity of being able to spend a seat with the pro bono team in the London office. DLA Piper is unmatched among corporate law firms in the size and scope of its pro bono team, which for me was a further element of attraction to the firm.
Participating in pro bono work led to one of the highlights of my time with DLA Piper so far: leading a client meeting unsupervised. This was an incredible experience, and I relished the responsibility given. An additional highlight, while in my seat in the corporate department, has been involvement in the co-ordination of a high-value multi-jurisdictional asset acquisition. This was a challenging role, requiring a great degree of organisation and attention to detail, but was also incredibly satisfying to undertake.
On a more everyday basis, the work continues to afford high levels of responsibility and interest. For example, in the corporate department I regularly draft ancillary documents for large-scale deals, such as completion board minutes and powers of attorney. I also frequently run the due diligence process on deals, liaising with specialists in our offices across the country for their input.
Even when I was in my first seat (Real Estate: Planning), I feel I was given more responsibility than is usual for a trainee of that level. I often made applications to the Land Registry, for example for first registration or to change the register. I was also thoroughly involved in a technically challenging national infrastructure project, which I found fascinating.