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Slaughter and May

Employee profile

Emily Costello


A day in the life of a Trainee...

8:00am: I start the day with a run and a good breakfast; I sometimes miss my pre-Covid walk to the office but I have been enjoying having more time in the morning due to my new shorter commute from my bedroom to my desk downstairs!

9:15am: I start my day by checking my emails and looking at anything left on my to-do list from the day before. My supervisor may check in with me, either via email or by phone, or we may have our group-wide call to check how everyone is doing and to discuss ongoing work in the department, as well as discussing any new lockdown tips or Netflix recommendations. I am currently in my third seat, in the firm’s IP/IT department and so the work tends to be quite varied. It is interesting to hear about the range of work going on in the department each week and it is nice to have a regular catch-up with the rest of the group.

10:00am I then hop on a video call with an associate and trainee from our team to discuss some due diligence we are going to be carrying out for a client who is looking to purchase a smaller company to grow their business. I take a brief note of the flags to look for and ensure I have access to the relevant contracts for reviewing, which are in a virtual data room.

10:30am: I spend time reviewing the contracts for the client, noting anything which may be of interest to them and preparing questions for the corporate team whenever documents are missing or anything is unclear. I am looking at IT / IP contracts and documents which bring their own unique issues; it may be that we will be carrying searches into the target company’s IP rights (such as trade marks) to confirm some details once we have completed this initial due diligence.

12:30pm: I attend a virtual lunchtime webinar on Race and Wellbeing in the Workplace, recommended to us by the firm’s Diverse Committee, which provides some tips for taking more individual responsibility for observing and improving the social environment at work for those from BAME backgrounds.

1:30pm: I finish off reviewing the contracts allocated to me this morning and talk through any issues I have found with the associate on the matter. We begin to plan drafting a due diligence report for the client but we have to wait to discuss our issues with the corporate team first when their reviews are complete.

2:15pm: I respond to a capacity request from a partner and an associate in my department. I end up helping to carry out some research and drafting work for a pro bono client, who focuses on sustainability. This keeps me busy for a while and helps me to practice my drafting skills.

5pm: My last task of the day involves helping one of my supervisor’s clients with a specific query in relation to references to regulations inserted by the other side into a purchase agreement we are working on for this client. Once I have carried out some research into the issue, I summarise it and discuss it with the associate on the matter. It is quite a niche area of law and a new issue for us so we decide to bring it up for discussion at our fortnightly group video call, in which members of the group can discuss interesting legal or commercial issues that have arisen on various transactions, to educate and hear opinions from other group members.

6:30pm: I log off for the day after a couple of messages with the other trainees in my department; we will be having a virtual end-of-seat drinks next week with the whole team as we are moving on to our next (and my final) seats the week after next. It is going to be a sad parting as we have all grown very close, despite having spent the vast majority of the seat working from home. I am looking forward to an in-person gathering at some safe point in the future to properly celebrate finishing another seat.