Name: Adedayo Ajibade
Degree and university: University of Leeds, Chinese and Japanese Studies (First, with a distinction in spoken Chinese)
GDL & LPC: BPP Law School, London
Why did you decide on a career in law? I chose a career in law because, having done languages to degree level, I wanted to be in a profession which could be as international as I wanted it to be. I did investigate the other city professions, but with my background in languages it just made more sense to play to my strengths and do something where the use of language, not numbers, was the most important thing.
What did the application process involve? When I joined, the application process for a training contract involved an online application and then interviews at the firm – one with a managing associate and then one with a partner. That has changed a bit now – there is a critical reasoning test and a first interview with a managing associate, followed by a case study that forms about 20 minutes of the second interview with a partner. All candidates get a half an hour to prepare for the case study before the partner interview.
What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I have just come to the end of a seat in the Investment Management Group which does a lot of work relating to the setting up and listing of funds, and also advising clients on investments into funds. A large part of my time in the seat saw me being involved in the setting up of a fund to invest in Indian real estate. The transaction was a good mix of both technical drafting to reflect the commercial intent, and legal advisory work to make sure the transaction didn’t fall foul of any regulatory hurdles.
What do you most enjoy about what you do and are there any downsides? The most enjoyable thing about the job is the constant challenge. This is especially so at the moment as the credit crunch forces people to look at new markets in which to expand, or new deal types to exploit.
The work is challenging so sometimes the hours can be challenging as well. However, you will constantly be mentally stimulated, and at the end of day, you’ll never be asked to stay late for no reason.
What skills do you need to succeed? A good eye for detail; the ability to look at the wider transaction, not just the document you are drafting at the time; communication skills, and when it gets busy, stamina!
What advice would you give graduates wishing to come into this sector? Definitely go to as many open evenings as you can to get a feel for the type of people that each law firm hires (and, although it may not seem like it from the literature, each firm does have a general type), as, when you’re late in the office, if you don’t like the people you’re with, you’ll find those hours a whole lot longer.
Don’t choose a career as a City solicitor if you think that it will be an easy ride. The clients can be demanding and there will be times where you are personally under pressure to deliver results. Do choose a career as a City solicitor if, despite all that, you’re still game and up for the challenge – there are few professions which will give you an intellectual work-out like this one will.