Elena Dagley

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Why did you choose to apply to Weil? Why did you accept a training contract at Weil?

I chose to apply to Weil because it ticked all my boxes as a firm and for a training contract. I decided that an international firm with a London office would be most appealing to me, based on my professional and personal interests. I liked Weil’s full-service approach and its variety of practice areas, especially the range of top-tier transactional seats. I was also looking for a smaller trainee intake, so Weil’s intake of 20-30 across both years seemed ideal for being in the spotlight but being supported in equal measure. Weil’s diversity, pride and women’s affinity groups, environmentally-friendly policies and pro-bono initiatives were also essential criteria motivating my application, as I wanted to work somewhere which took these issues seriously.

I chose to accept my training contract offer from Weil due to the great experience I’d had on the vacation scheme. I sat in Banking and Litigation during my vacation scheme and found everyone I worked with, including the graduate recruitment team, to be really approachable and friendly, and I felt like I fit into the culture of the firm. I really enjoyed the work I did, the level of responsibility I received and the hands-on learning style required, which confirmed for me that Weil would be the perfect place to train.

How is the training programme structured? What training have you received so far?

Along with the rest of my intake, I have completed the core and elective Professional Skills Courses, undertaken general trainee training on legal and non-legal skills, and undertaken practice area training aimed at trainees specifically or at fee-earners of all levels. As a whole firm, we have also undertaken diversity training and compliance training.

The training contact at Weil is structure whereby each trainee completes four seats of six months each, with the aim of sitting in one finance and one corporate seat. There is the possibility of doing an overseas secondment to the Weil office in New York, Paris or Hong Kong.

What tasks do trainees typically get involved in?

Trainee tasks are very practice area and client matter dependent. My first seat was Banking, which was heavy on drafting/reviewing documents and transaction management, such as leading CP calls and coordinating local counsel. My second seat was Business Finance & Restructuring, which involved lots of research, attendance note taking and creating presentations explaining restructuring and insolvency processes/concepts for clients. My third seat is PE Infrastructure, which requires conducting due diligence and document/data room reviews, drafting and transaction management.

What challenges have you faced as a trainee and how have you overcome these challenges? What support have you received to help you develop?

Challenges can be the complexity of the work, managing workloads and deadlines, long hours and starting each seat with very limited knowledge. The best way to overcome this is by being positive and helpful, getting stuck in and asking questions, and working hard for the team and communicating effectively – all of which are greatly appreciated by colleagues who will give more back to you in terms of support and development.

Trainees receive formal support from trainee buddies, supervisors, graduate recruitment, graduate recruitment partners, trainee responsible partners and mentors. Informally, trainees support each other and get support from colleagues in the firm during their seats.

What have been some of your training contract highlights?

Highlights for me are noticing my abilities develop, my autonomy increase and my feedback improve, but in particular, being the one to solve a problem for the team or spot something important - adding value where possible.

What do you enjoy most about working at Weil? What are some of the perks of the job?

What I like most about working for Weil is being able to do challenging work on interesting client matters with a high level of responsibility, whilst also being able to enjoy the social side of the firm and trainee intake. The perks of being a trainee at Weil are, amongst other things, the close-knit trainee intake, the salary, the taxis and food options when working in the evenings, the level of support provided in terms of benefits/welfare and Weil’s friendly atmosphere.