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Macfarlanes LLP

Employee profile

Zoe Carter

Trainee Solicitor

Why Macfarlanes?

I spoke to trainees at a graduate recruitment event who were very enthusiastic about the interesting work that Macfarlanes does across its wide range of practice areas. I was particularly interested in the firm’s unusual, but highly successful, international strategy and mix of both private client work and corporate and commercial work. I thought that this made Macfarlanes different from the other firms I had researched. I thought that Macfarlanes was small enough to have a close-knit culture but big enough to attract high quality work.

Recruitment process 

I joined Macfarlanes as a trainee in March 2018 following an assessment day at the firm. Although challenging, the assessment day was intellectually stimulating. I undertook a written exercise, a group presentation, a CV blind interview and an in-tray interview (which consisted of a discussion about three case studies with a partner). I enjoyed having the chance to speak to a number of people from the firm. It allowed me to gain insight into the friendly culture at Macfarlanes. Everyone was very welcoming and happy to answer any of my questions. 

The Legal Practice Course

Macfarlanes runs a tailored LPC for future trainees. I found that this really helped me to understand the legal basis of the work I wouldbe doing as a trainee. I thought that the Macfarlanes LPC was unique because of the monthly in-house training seminars. These are run by the main
practice areas of the firm and are followed by social events. We had a chance to meet people across the firm and gain a real insight into the work they do. The seminars were particularly useful when it came to choosing my first seat.

The trainee experience

I currently sit in the corporate and M&A group having previously completed seats in litigation and competition. In all of my seats, I have been given enough responsibility to flourish but there have been plenty of support networks in place. When I started the training contract, I was  surprised at how approachable everyone at the firm is. Solicitors and partners are always happy to answer any of my questions. In the office, my work varies from day to day and from seat to seat. For example, I have drafted a letter of claim in a construction dispute, drafted legal submissions to a competition authority and drafted ancillary documents in an M&A transaction. I have had a lot of direct client contact, including being sent to a client’s office to undertake a document review exercise. As each seat progressed, I have been given more complex
and challenging work. I found that this has massively helped to build my confidence and developed my skills.


Trainees are encouraged to get involved in the many different extra-curricular activities on offer. Since joining, I have participated in netball competitions, helped out with the Christmas charity raffle, participated in running events, undertaken pro bono