Cooley had been on my radar for several reasons, but mainly because of its reputation as an innovative, forward-looking firm that operates slightly differently to its peers. I joined Cooley’s summer programme in my last undergraduate year at university and it struck me as a firm I’d enjoy working for. The London office had only opened a couple of years before the programme, and it had (and still has) the energy of an ambitious newcomer looking to disrupt the established London market. I also liked the fact that the trainee intake was fairly small as I thought that would allow for a more personal training experience, and that has proved the case.
It is a bit of a cliché, but the typical trainee day doesn’t really exist. A trainee’s role could include anything from presenting legal research to the rest of the team, undertaking due diligence or document review, drafting transaction/case documents and correspondence, leading a call with a pro bono client, to writing blog posts and articles on legal developments. Due to the small number of trainees, we often get the opportunity to work across different practice areas in addition to the one we are sitting in, which adds even more variety to our work. Trainees are also often responsible for general case or transaction management (i.e. making sure documents are filed/sent/executed on time), which gives you a great view of the whole deal and makes you an indispensable component of the wider team.
Our training programme has two main components. The first is a wide-ranging and structured training programme called ‘Cooley Uni’, which involves attending scheduled sessions given by specialists from across the firm speaking to you about their respective practice area. These Cooley Uni sessions also cover broader professional development themes, such as time management and forming a personal brand, invaluable skills for anyone at the early stage of their career. The second, and just as effective, component is learning by doing; the firm is very good at getting you heavily involved in client work and giving you responsibility from day one. Although this can occasionally seem a bit daunting, question-asking is encouraged and naturally you learn quickly on the job as a result.
The list of perks of working here is a long one. The clients we work with often do truly pioneering work and include household names and well-regarded global brands. We also take our pro bono activities seriously and our pro bono clients generate interesting and rewarding work. Working alongside our colleagues from the US, Brussels and elsewhere means we benefit from the collective experience of a global firm and certainly gives trainees a broader perspective.