How the graduate got the job and why they chose your company
I developed an interest in the firm due to its heavy presence on my campus at University. It consistently ran events and attended law fairs, so I found myself regularly interacting with different representatives from various roles within the firm. Not only could they provide me with examples of the impressive work that they were involved with, but they were all extremely personable, and seemed to have a communal sense of work ethic and understanding across the board. I determined that these were people I would enjoy working alongside. I was successful in my application for the summer vacation scheme at the firm (a two week placement), and was offered a training contract on the back of that programme.
What the graduate’s role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
The work I conduct as a trainee generally varies between different departments. What was required of me in my previous transactional seat was rather different to the advisory one I am currently sitting in for instance. Whilst the former involved tasks such as drafting, project management and communication with our client and the other side's solicitors, the latter is very research based. It requires a close analysis of the law, studying quite complex and intricate legislation.
What training the graduate has received
Before I began my training contract, I engaged in a two week professional skills course. This covered the topics that the SRA requires a trainee solicitor to study, focussing on basic competency skills such as advocacy, communication and client management. On a day-to-day basis, all divisions regularly run training through video conferencing across all offices. These cover issues that are particularly topical at the time, ensuring everyone remains up-to-date with any relevant changes to legislation and any general matters that would affect our clients. If there is a particularly important development (more recently for example the introduction of GDPR), we will be required to conduct mandatory online training to ensure we have an adequate understanding of it.
If the graduate is on a structured/formal scheme, what that involves
I conduct four six month seats in different departments across the firm. It is an SRA requirement that one of these contains some element of contentious work, but other than that the firm does not impose any other compulsory elements. It is generally encouraged that a trainee should try and experience as broad a range of work as possible, which can also include opportunities to conduct one of these six month periods in one of the international offices, or a secondment to one of our clients.
Highlights of the work the graduate has done
I worked on a large ring-fencing project for one of the major banks which involved the novation of over a hundred loans to a new entity. This was a particularly topical matter at the time, and the ability to see the work I was doing reflected in daily life was rewarding. I also worked on three different 'mega-mergers' of housing associations. These were complex transactions spanned over several months, and having the opportunity to draft a number of the documents involved was a particularly enjoyable experience.
What the graduate enjoys about their job
One of the main things I enjoy is the unpredictability. Each day is completely different to the previous one, and I am consistently challenged in new ways. It is very difficult to settle into a consistent routine which makes work enjoyable. In addition, given the firm's standard, I also get to work for leading experts in their respective fields. This provides intellectually stimulating work, as well as numerous opportunities to learn from such an early stage.
What challenges the graduate has faced and how they have overcome any difficult situations – what support has been provided
As a junior in a law firm, time management can be particularly tricky. I conduct work for a number of different people within the firm. It can therefore be difficult prioritising certain matters as typically everything is relatively urgent (particularly in transactional work). People here are very supportive though, and understand that this is the case. We also have support staff for a whole range of different tasks (word processing, printing and binding etc.) which makes daily work much more efficient.
Why they like working for you and anything that is particularly perky!
Generally the firm is very social. There are regularly events for the different departments, divisions and roles which means that work extends further than just life in an office. The firm also subsidizes gym membership and regularly encourage involvement with various charitable projects, such as firm-wide sponsored cycling races.