TARGETjobs black logo

Cooley (UK) LLP

Employee profile

Neelam Atwal

Trainee Solicitor

I studied English language and communication at university and I honestly wasn’t entirely sure which career direction I wanted to go in after graduation. I’d gained some experience in various fields and in particular digital marketing for a pro bono initiative, where I was exposed to the office-life of a law firm. After this I decided to do the GDL and once I realised how much I enjoyed the course and the work I then applied for training contracts at various firms. Cooley really stood out to me as they placed a strong focus and attention on pro bono work, which I felt matched my values and interests very well. Cooley had a range of really interesting clients and from the short time I spent with the firm on the summer programme, I felt as though I could really see myself working at the firm.

I’m currently in the third seat of my training contract in Business Litigation, having completed seats in Employment and Corporate M&A. My training so far has been really broad and has involved tasks such as coordinating specialist teams in corporate transactions, preparing diligence memos, legal research, assisting with preparing witness statements, assisting with preparing bundles for court hearings, drafting major transaction documents (usually an associate’s role!) along with numerous other opportunities. I’ve been involved in a lot of pro bono work which I’ve really enjoyed, from appealing decisions of the Department for Work and Pensions to assisting people with their applications to the Home Office for British citizenship and helping on a corporate transaction for a charitable organisation.

The small trainee intake means that trainees work extremely closely with the partners and associates, and the size of the teams on matters tends to be relatively small. Due to this the learning curve is very steep but it means we get more responsibility far earlier on in our careers which can be excellent for learning, experience and confidence-building. On top of this, I really enjoy working with a range of clients, often international, particularly US-based.

We have regular training sessions delivered by different members of the firm on a different range of topics, from personal development sessions, to drafting skills and specific training on particular types of work in different practice areas. The training is excellent and really comprehensive. With the way work is allocated, we get a chance to build relationships with and learn from a wide variety of different people both from the practice you currently sit in, in addition to other wider practices.

With everyone moving to working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cooley were extremely proactive with making sure we were looked after, had a support network and that we were well set up to work remotely as comfortably as possible. We’ve had regular catch up calls with a mix of associates, paralegals and partners and weekly zoom quizzes and other entertainments were organised to keep morale up. We even had a Halloween party - just another way that the firm makes an effort to bring us together. Overall, Cooley has been and continues to be a great place to learn and work, even in the face of a lot of uncertainty.