Having completed a business graduate scheme at an international telecommunications company and worked as part of their in-house legal team, I had the opportunity to work with many private practice firms. Therefore I was very selective about which firm I undertook my training contract with.
Gowling WLG was the perfect fit. It was an ambitious firm that had just merged, it had some large clients including household names and it was an international practice. However, more than that it was a place where you connect with people which is what attracted me most to the firm.
The application process is straight forward with an application form and some aptitude tests which are then followed by a short telephone conversation. The final stage is an assessment centre where you interact with partners, trainees and HR. This is where you first start to understand how the firm cares about its people.
Firstly there are the amazing offices which stand out for location and view both in London and Birmingham. But take a closer look and you can see the investment in making sure the offices are equipped to help its people work in a relaxed environment. There are kitchens on every floor, restaurants, pods and sofas away from the bustling office environment and its open plan style. There are also rooms on each floor where you can put your head down and focus your mind on the task at hand.
Secondly, the moment you start your training contract you will have a buddy (a second year trainee) and a partner to act as your Principal. Both the buddy and Principal provide advice throughout the different stages of your training contract and these can be really helpful. It can make all the difference being able to call your buddy to ask anything or to sit with your Principal and discuss seat options. The support functions are there to help trainees make the most of the training contract. However, nothing will stop you connecting and building relationships with other colleagues throughout your training contract as you will work very closely with people of all experience.
Thirdly, before you even step through the Gowling WLG doors you will spend a few days with the other trainees undertaking some core PSC modules. This is a great way to start to get to know your intake and build your own small network. This is something I found really helpful as I did not undertake my LPC with some of the other trainees but within six days of PSC, I had built some great friendships.
During each seat you will work closely with your Supervisor and have a mid-seat and end of seat review. These are a great way to discuss the seat in greater detail and review objectives that you have set (together with your Supervisor) at the start of the seat. I have used the mid-seat reviews to discuss the type of I would like to focus more on and this is something that is taken on board. The training contract can be shaped by you to help you maximise your potential.
Being an international firm, you will work with international clients at some stage of your training contract. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a client or international secondment at our Dubai and China offices. I am going to Dubai for my third seat where I will be working different departments. This is a great way to build your international network, your own personal skills and work on some large deals and disputes (and top up your tan).
There are numerous social events throughout the year including the annual party which is not to be missed. Gowling WLG is a place where you will be working closely with people, taking on some great work and being able to shape your training contract your way.