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Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP

Employee profile

Stephen Wallace

Trainee Solicitor

The first stage of my training contract recruitment process at Orrick was attending the open day. The open day was a great way to learn about the firm in one day with talks from lawyers across most of the firm's departments, a written exercise and a very competitive negotiation exercise. However the firm makes the day as informal as it can which enabled me to perform well and come back for a final round interview.

I chose Orrick because of the size of the firm, its international presence and the work that it does. Being in a small cohort of trainees really gives you the chance to impress and get involved with work that adds value to a matter. In my first three seats my tasks have included: drafting ancillary documents; attempting to draft parts of the more substantive documents (such as clauses of an SPA or security documents in my finance seat), being responsible for documents lists, attending client meetings and helping with pitches. The role which involved the most responsibility was running the due diligence Q&A process on a large renewable energy deal in my corporate seat. Other work has included research tasks, bundling, attending court, proof reading and many other tasks that my work providers think I can handle.

There is extensive IT training when you arrive and ongoing training whenever a new bit of software is introduced or updated. There is also 'trainee training' which happens about once a month where a lawyer from a department will talk about the work they do day-to-day with the benefit of a fantastic breakfast. As corporate is the largest department in the firm, we receive specific training at the start of that seat to help us with the most common tasks that we will be asked to do, such as drafting board minutes.

I really enjoy the speed of learning when you are in the middle of a busy matter. There are always lots of tasks to do under tight deadlines and these are the best moments to hone your skills. Even in manic periods, supervisors are happy to sit down with you and talk about the documents you are drafting and the reason for them which is very helpful. In terms of the people, everyone is very personable, easy to talk to and happy to speak about things other than work which makes working long hours much easier! There are organised social events as well as much more frequent impromptu ones which are generally well attended.

The six seat training contract was a big draw when I applied. You get to see almost all the firm within the two years of training which puts you in a good position to make the right choice for qualification. You can choose your seats (apart from the first one) and if you don't get your first choice in one rotation, you will have priority for the next rotation. People of all seniority are very friendly at the firm and they are concerned with your development at work as well as your hobbies and interests outside of work.