How did you get your job?
I studied Politics and International Studies at Warwick University and wanted to pursue a career where I could apply the critical analysis and understanding of current affairs I enjoyed applying at undergraduate level to the day-to-day tasks I would be required to undertake on the job. I applied for a work experience scheme at Slaughter and May for a number of reasons, not least because of its impressive client base, many of which are reputable and market-leading household names, but also because of its prestige and reputation for providing exceptional client-focused legal services. After sending my CV and cover letter, I was invited for an interview. I was interviewed by a partner and an associate. The interview revolved around my CV and a discussion of a current affairs news article I had been given to read just before the interview. It felt like the interview was a genuine attempt to get to know me as a person and candidate
The three-week summer work experience scheme was an opportunity for me to get to know the firm better and I was truly impressed by how warm, welcoming and friendly everyone was. I knew I wanted to work at a firm that not only advised on important matters but was also quite collegiate in nature and Slaughter and May certainly ticked all those boxes for me. After the scheme I had the opportunity to interview for a training contract – the process was similar to that of the scheme where I was given time to read a current affairs news article. Prior to that candidates are asked to completed a written exercise which involves preparing a short memorandum of advice to a fictional client which was interesting from a commercial view point. My training contract interview was done by two partners this time and what truly left me impressed was the fact that the senior partner had interviewed the more junior partner for a training contract several years ago which really highlighted for me the importance the firm placed on retaining and developing its trainees.
What’s a typical day like as a trainee solicitor?
One of the great things about being a trainee solicitor at Slaughter and May is that no one day at work is the same.
On some days I may spend my time assisting on an update of a prospectus for a debt issuance programme and draft a range of documents. On other days I might attend a signing at a client’s office and have the opportunity to participate in calls with overseas counsel. The one consistent factor is that trainees here are given a great level of responsibility early on and have a great support network of both junior and senior lawyers to rely on if needed.
Given the importance of training at Slaughter and May, my week will usually involve some form of training sessions. These sessions can be specific to the seat I am currently in, sessions tailored towards personal development such as presentation skills or sessions that are hosted by the firm and led by a Slaughter and May fee earner or an external party on a topic in which I have an interest.
The firm really encourages extra-curricular activities outside of work and there are a number of clubs and initiatives we can get involved with. A number of my friends play for the firm’s hockey and football teams and regularly compete against other City firms. For those aren’t into sport, there’s lots of other options. We’re really encouraged to give back and take part in one of the many great pro-bono and community initiatives, like tutoring and mentoring students from a local inner-city comprehensive school, that the firm offers which often has a lasting impact.
How has your role developed?
The role certainly develops over time as you demonstrate you’re more than capable of handling the workload and earn the trust of your team. Over the course of my training contract I’ve routinely been able to liaise with clients on a range of points, participate in calls with overseas counsel, undertake the first draft of some transaction documents and manage the ancillary aspects of a transaction. Colleagues at the firm couldn’t be more supportive and always make the time to answer any questions I may have or provide guidance where I need it regardless of how busy they are. The open door policy at Slaughter and May has really been an excellent support network which has allowed me to feel a lot more confident about taking the plunge into more difficult tasks that I might not be familiar with.