I enjoyed studying law at university and was always interested in how law affects businesses and vice versa. I attended an open day at the firm in my first year to find out more about City law, and then a case study presentation which the firm hosted at my university. These events, combined with other legal work experience, convinced me that becoming a commercial law solicitor was the career path for me. Slaughter and May also stood out from other City law firms both because of the firm’s exceptional legal work for a range of prestigious clients, and its multi-specialist approach which would enable me to get involved in a wide variety of work for these clients (both of which have proved to be true!)
How did you find the application process?
I found the application process at Slaughter and May more straightforward compared to the other firms I applied to.
Starting with the written application, only a CV and a cover letter were required. Instead of having to answer set questions on an application form, I felt that I was able to explain why I was interested in commercial law, and specifically why Slaughter and May, much more clearly in my cover letter.
I also found the interview process more straightforward than at other firms. The interview itself included discussing my CV, why I wanted to study law in the UK, and a debate on a point of commercial law. I was nervous, but both partners were friendly and made efforts to make me feel comfortable. This enabled me to get over my nerves and focus on doing my best to answer their, at times, challenging questions.
What’s a typical day like as a trainee solicitor in your current seat?
I’m currently sitting in Finance, where I have been given huge responsibilities in terms of drafting ancillary document such as board minutes and notices, overseeing transactional processes such as signing and conditions precedent, and liaising directly with clients. I have also undertaken research tasks, both into legal points as well as into the client’s businesses.
A typical day for me starts off with checking over my emails and writing up my to-do list and a list of any meetings or trainings I might have during the course of the day. The rest of the day then consists of engaging in tasks mentioned above, chatting with the associates about updates on a transaction and asking any questions I may have about the tasks, and attending any meetings and training. There are often also social and recruitment events to attend both at the end of the day and/or during lunchtime.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy being given responsibility to carry out tasks, while also having support and supervision both from the team I work with as well as from the group generally. On a transaction, I have been trusted with negotiating legal points and liaising directly with the clients. I highly value how, despite being busy, everyone in the team is willing to answer questions and provide support I need to carry out my tasks. Because of this, I have learned a lot from these experiences, from understanding how to negotiate legal points taking into account the client’s commercial interests to understanding how different clients operate at an organisational level.
What has been a highlight of your training contract so far?
Following from the theme of being given a lot of responsibility above, the highlight of my training contract so far is probably being put on a management call with a client to run through a legal document, without the partner and associate on the matter due to availability issues. Although another partner joined the call as a cover, I was the only person on the Slaughter and May team with knowledge on the document. The call included senior people from the client side who asked some technical legal questions. To my surprise, I was able to answer the questions relating to the document, as I had worked on the matter and had seen various changes made to the document from the start. The partner answered the technical questions relating to the law generally, which I could probably not have answered as well without having done the research into the topic beforehand. This experience reinforced how Slaughter and May trusts trainees with a lot of responsibility, enabling you to learn and develop professionally, whilst always offering support and supervision.