How the graduate got the job and why they chose the company
I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the July 2017 Vacation Scheme in the penultimate year of my degree. After spending two weeks in the Aviation Liability department, I successfully completed an interview for a place on the firm's training programme.
Having met members of staff during a visit to the firm organised by my university in 2016, the approachable and down-to-earth nature of the people I had met is initially what encouraged me to apply for a place on the vacation scheme.
As an Irish woman of Nigerian descent who had completed a dual-degree in Irish and French Law, the firm's international outlook and strong international presence was very appealing to me.
What the graduate's role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
The activities undertaken and key responsibilities vary from seat to seat. So far, I have completed both a contentious and non-contentious seat and the differences and similarities in my roles in both have been very apparent.
In my non-contentious seat (Real Estate), I was given a large amount of responsibility and was able to manage my own matters from file opening right through to billing and file closure. Key tasks included liaising directly with clients on various sale/purchase/commercial lease transactions, supporting fellow team members by conducting research on distinct points of property law and completing various admin tasks.
In my contentious seat (Aviation Liability), while I have also been given a large amount of responsibility, key tasks here involve the preparation of more detailed research notes, general case management and liaising with counsel and experts. I have also had the opportunity to attend hearings and conference calls with clients/local counsel at which I have had to take very detailed attendance notes.
What training the graduate has received
I completed the Professional Skills Course and general firm induction in the first three weeks at the firm which involved key sessions such as IT training. Each department holds specific department training and induction sessions for the incoming trainees at each rotation. The different departments also hold client training seminars and legal update sessions and the Learning and Development team also holds regular lunchtime training sessions throughout the year on different areas of law as well as sessions on developing soft skills.
If the graduate is on a structured/formal scheme, what that involves
The training contract at Clyde & Co involves spending six months in four different seats. I am currently halfway through the contract having completed my first seat in Real Estate and my second seat in Aviation Liability. I will be spending my third seat in International Trade. As the training contract is currently a training contract for the London and Guildford office, trainees must select at least one Guildford seat when inputting their seat choices for each rotation.
In order to comply with SRA requirements, we are required to complete seats in four distinct practice areas, one of which must be transactional. After completing the two years of the training contract, trainees then apply for the department(s) at the firm in which they are interested.
Highlights of the work the graduate has done
I have had the opportunity of getting involved in a number of interesting matters so it is very difficult for me to pick out just a few highlights! However, completing my first residential purchase transaction for a high profile client in my first seat definitely stands out to me due to the sheer amount of direct client contact I had. In my second seat, preparing a summary of the interim accident report of a major loss on which the firm is instructed was a challenging but fulfilling task, given my very little knowledge of the mechanics of aeroplanes at the time. This task essentially enabled me to receive a crash course in aerospace engineering!
What the graduate enjoys about their job
The varied nature of the job appeals to me. I love learning and every day so far I have learnt something new. The job is academically challenging and highly engaging. I enjoy being able to finally see how everything I learnt at university and on the LPC applies in practice as well as observing how associates and partners approach matters commercially and engage with clients.
What challenges the graduate has faced and how they overcome any difficult situations – what support has been provided
Going straight from academic life to working at the firm was quite daunting, given that I had never paralegaled or spent any time in the firm other than the two-week Vacation Scheme, two years earlier!
However, the firm very much so has an open-door policy and there is always someone on hand to answer my questions or allay any concerns I may have. This includes everyone from the Early Careers Team to the partners and fellow trainees.
Why they like working for you and anything that is particularly perky
I cannot stress enough how friendly the people I have encountered at the firm so far have been – this is essentially the icing on the cake given how great the quality of work and opportunities for personal and professional development at Clyde & Co are.
Pre-COVID, there were regular firm-wide events on the 13th Floor of the St Botolph Building such as the famous Thursday night bar. I was also a member of the firm's netball team during my first seat in Guildford which was a fantastic way to socialise and meet other members of the firm.
In spite of the current circumstances, each department has tried to hold virtual social events which have managed to see good turnouts!