I did a vacation scheme with the firm during my second year of university and I knew straight away that Norton Rose Fulbright was the kind of firm I wanted to join. During the scheme, I really enjoyed interesting project finance transactions in emerging markets, the fact that teams consisted of people from various countries across the globe, and a great work atmosphere in which people worked very hard, but also actively supported each other and took time to enjoy life. When I got my TC offer after the scheme, I immediately said yes.
To me, one of the most important aspects of the firm is its very strong culture of respect for individual hobbies, circumstances and lifestyle choices. We all work very hard, but it is also widely understood that you do not need to be chained to your desk and if you are not needed, you are free to leave and enjoy life. I occasionally worked from home even before covid-19 and left the office early to celebrate special events (like having a ukulele lesson). Finding this balance while working on some of the most challenging and interesting matters in the world is what really appealed to me and was one of the main reasons for choosing the firm. The second most important reason was the firm’s international reach and breadth of sectoral expertise. I am very interested in the energy and infrastructure sector, so NRF as one of the leaders in the field was a natural choice.
In my current role as a trainee, I am doing a mix of technical, research, business development and process management tasks. I think the balance is overall good – I feel that I have learnt a lot since I started at the firm and I enjoyed being given responsibility for various work-streams. I am very interested in legal innovation, so the firm keeps giving me opportunities to work with our Innovation Hub and pursue these interests. I took part in the FT’s Global Legal Hackathon 2020 and I am assisting on another legal innovation project as well. I am also joining a legal tech innovation start-up for a secondment in my last seat, which is a truly unique opportunity to develop new skills and experience a completely different way of working.
In terms of trainee work highlights, I really enjoy drafting and thinking about the commercial aspects of legal issues faced by our clients (as geeky as this sounds, I really do), so my favourite tasks so far have been preparing draft responses to arbitration, drafting witness statements and preparing first drafts of firm’s internal precedents for an ESG bolt-on to a facility agreement. I also find meeting with clients in person and being their point of contact very rewarding. I even received a hand-written thank you note from one of our clients!
I think that the firm provides a lot of support. You can join various committees through which you can “find your tribe” at work and everyone is always very understanding of personal circumstances. I had some quite serious health issues in my first seat and my supervisor was very supportive and accommodating – she really went out of her way to help me through it and cheer me up. I also have a fantastic partner mentor (each trainee is paired with a partner mentor at the beginning of their TC), who somehow always finds time to talk at a short notice if I need a second opinion. He also helps me with seat choices and has been instrumental in putting me in contact with our Innovation Hub, after I said it is something I want to incorporate into my career.