Ali Fazeli-Nia

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What course did you study and where?

Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method at LSE

How did you get your job?

I submitted a direct Training Contract application after being exposed to NRF on a number of occasions through diversity schemes, attending open days, and having a relationship with the firm through my work with my university law society.

What’s a typical day like as a Trainee?

Every day is a little bit different! Most days involve a few calls to catch up on where we are with various matters and update on any open work streams. The rest of my time is really varied, spending time working on tasks which might involve anything from research, to drafting documents like witness statements, to helping with file management and other admin tasks.

We have a range of employee led networks at NRF, diversity and inclusion is really important to the culture of the firm, so I regularly attend committee meetings for a range of these networks. When you join as a trainee you are allocated a Partner Mentor, who is there to support and give you objective advice throughout your training contact, so I may also have a meeting with my mentor. Additionally to this, we get the opportunity to do some pro bono, so I may find myself conducting research on  a range of different issues and preparing documents for these clients.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As every day is so varied I never really get the opportunity to get bored with my work. Often I will be doing things for the first time, so it is enjoyable to work my way through different problems and deliver results for the team.

What are the challenges?

It can be a bit intimidating at times to have to work your way through a brand new task for the first time, but there is always support on hand to ensure you are going in the right direction and someone to answer your questions. It is also important to have some belief in the work you are doing!

In what way is your degree relevant?

I think the most important thing my degree taught me was to write clearly. I remember one of my tutors telling me that a good philosophy essay should be written in a way that someone at secondary school can understand it. This has carried over into my work today and I always make a point of writing simply and not using jargon unnecessarily. This is something I have received positive feedback on and so I am glad I developed this skill at university.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

As I progress through this role, the amount of responsibility I am given has increased. I’ve found that building trust within the firm is really important during a training contract as it leads to you getting better experience and building relationships with colleagues and potential mentors.

How do I get into law?

Get as much experience and exposure to the firm you are applying to as you possibly can, including from open days, diversity events and through university societies. Make sure the firm knows your name and face before you apply, it can really make you stand out in a sea of applications!
Really immerse yourself in the work done by the firm. It’s difficult to know about the culture of the firm from the outside but learning about the work done by the firm is much easier. It’s worth remembering that firms are hiring you to do a job and so it is important you demonstrate an interest in what the job involves and that you understand the role you are applying for.
If you are interested in working for a city firm, make sure you have good commercial awareness. This means more than just learning a few terms, but developing an understanding of basic economic principles, markets and what is going on in the financial world. For me, this meant taking an economics module but how this looks for you might be different.