Having already had a year out before going to University (during which I did a little bit of work and a lot of travelling!), I went straight into my LPC and then commenced my training contract.
I completed various different work experience placements and decided that commercial law was the area for me. I then went down the conventional route of applying for different vacation scheme placements. I completed placements at three firms and realised that, contrary to what I had initially thought, law firms really aren’t all the same. For me, Pinsent Masons had the appeal of being a firm that, though already firmly established in the legal market, had the ambition to grow and develop further. This ambition is collaborative and means that the people at the firm are genuinely supportive and really want you to learn and develop – for me this was the key factor in choosing to join the firm.
My first two seats (corporate and commercial) have been fairly demanding and so my
working week generally consists of quite a lot of time at my desk or on the phone. The trainees meet for lunch most days and I also tend to have a couple of networking events each week such as drinks or sporting events with contacts in the firm and other lawyers in Birmingham. I’m involved with the firm’s corporate responsibility programme so get to go and help children with reading and maths once a week and meet up with other members of the committee to discuss ways in which we can support the various programmes that the firm is involved in.
I think the biggest pitfalls of being a trainee are feeling like you are on a two-year interview and forgetting that you actually are on a two year interview! You need to make sure that
you relax and get the most out of your two years but you also need to remember that you are in a professional environment where you will be assessed and will face a job interview at the end of your training contract. Being enthusiastic is really important in terms of both how people perceive you and your own job satisfaction.
I would like to think that in ten years time I will have established myself as a trusted commercially-minded lawyer. I would like to be in a position where a client can call knowing that I will provide no-nonsense legal advice that demonstrates an understanding of, and is useful to their business.