In 2013, I arrived in the UK with one suitcase to begin a journey that I never imagined was possible. At my state school with 47 students in each class, my goal was clear: I wanted to stand out and experience the world by studying and practising law internationally. The route was not easy, partially because of financial constraints, but luckily I received scholarships to pave the way.
I decided to apply for the vacation scheme at Norton Rose Fulbright after attending an Aspiring Solicitors workshop. I was impressed by the global mind-set and industry focus of the firm, with the special touch of a friendly and diverse culture which stands out in the City. During the vacation scheme, I sat with three partners in General Banking, covering areas including leveraged finance, real estate finance and restructuring and insolvency. I also felt very included when another partner gave me a copy of the history dissertation he completed alongside his work. This made me appreciate that NRF welcomes and fosters diverse interests and skillsets.
After accepting the training contract, several partners supported me to invite a delegation of government officials, financial institutions and media to visit the firm from Taiwan and learn about its FinTech practice. This experience emphasised the firm’s international outlook and showed me that NRF is a place where entrepreneurship and initiative are celebrated. The event was a success and the delegation was impressed not only by the industry expertise, but also by the impeccable view of London from our 9th floor terrace, which featured in the Asian media!
I am currently in my first seat in the Financial Services team, guiding clients through the shifting regulatory landscape of Covid-19, Brexit and the focus on sustainable finance. At the start, I found the number of matters challenging (having worked on almost 50 in four months!), but this experience has enabled me to work with most members of the team and gain a great overview of the practice. I am also working with the business development team to support our relationship with Barclays.
My highlights so far include assisting a group of banks with their negotiations for the UK government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, working on various matters for Goldman Sachs and assisting KKR and Citadel, two major players in the private funds industry. Although my role was relatively minor, it was great to see my name listed on the NRF internal news page and this inspired me to work towards a leading role in the future. On other matters, I have been surprised by the degree of independence and client contact entrusted to me.
It was a privilege to take part in the Global Legal Hackathon supported by the Financial Times to develop a charter for maintaining the highest standards of training while working remotely. Alongside the legal training, I am also grateful for NRF’s leadership in providing bystander training and sessions on micro-inequities and other diversity topics. As a member of the firm’s Pride (LGBT+), Shine (disability), Origins (ethnicity) and Advance (social mobility) networks, I receive support and feel I am able to shape the firm’s vision on key aspects of diversity and inclusion within the legal sector.
While working remotely, I have unfortunately not been able to join the firm’s polo training or make the most of the massage service, but my colleagues have encouraged me to put both of these on my to-do list!