Commercial Real Estate
Degree and classification: English Literature, First, Exeter University
GDL: College of Law, Guildford
LPC: BPP, London
Firm: Slaughter and May
Why did you decide upon a career in law?
I considered a career in law while still at school, but chose to do a degree in English because I enjoyed the subject. I knew I could do the postgraduate diploma in law afterwards. While at university I did work experience placements at several law firms. The Slaughter and May scheme gave me an insight into life as a City lawyer. I enjoyed the work and got on with the people, so I applied for a training contract.
What did the application process involve?
I just sent my CV and a covering letter – there was no lengthy application form. I was interviewed by two partners. They were interested in finding out about me and why I wanted to work at Slaughter and May rather than asking technical legal questions.
What type of work are you doing in your current seat?
I have been involved with transactions such as the acquisition or disposal of real estate. Often a deal will involve the transfer of several properties. After an acquisition, we work with clients on the ongoing relationship with the various tenants and the management of the property. I have also worked on the property aspects of large commercial transactions, which often require the input of lawyers across several groups within the firm.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The job is challenging and interesting because the work is so varied. A day’s work could involve researching points of law, drafting legal documents or communicating with a client in order to understand and respond to their requirements. I have been involved in a variety of transactions because the firm has a multi-specialist approach – lawyers are not required to limit their areas of expertise. There is also scope for travel. Trainees are regularly seconded overseas.
What do you like least?
Initially it was difficult making the transition from student to professional life, and realising that clients and colleagues depend on the accuracy and quality of your work. However, although I am ultimately responsible for my work, I am well supported, and colleagues are happy to answer questions.
What advice do you have for readers?
There is strong competition for training contracts, and achieving good grades is important. But law firms are looking for rounded individuals, so get involved in as many activities as possible. Participating in vacation schemes is a good way of working out what area of law you are interested in, and whether a particular firm is right for you. But don’t dedicate your whole summer to this – explore your other interests, too.