My first day at Herbert Smith was very relaxed. Having been on the consortium LPC at BPP I had been at Herbert Smith on ‘firm days’ so the office was familiar. I also enjoyed the day because I was joining with friends from the LPC and wanted the opportunity to get to know others I had not yet met. The day was packed with useful talks and further information about the firm and what we would be doing over the next two weeks during induction. We had the opportunity to meet members of the firm.
A particularly useful and amusing part of the day was the session given by two current first seat trainees. This was an informal session on what to expect and was full of stories around their successes, useful advice (including always carrying your pass to avoid being stuck in stairwells)
and anecdotes. I felt much better hearing this talk as not only did it show that the current first seat trainees were very much enjoying their experience to date but also that it is all a learning experience and that the firm is focussed on the professional development of its trainees.
One of the greatest things about Herbert Smith is the support network and the collaboration between staff. There are individuals at every level who are always available to help and answer any questions.
During my time at Herbert Smith I have also attended workshops to build my ‘soft skills’. For example, there are diversity and networking training events. Networking is very important from a business development perspective, learning how to win new clients and retain existing ones. There are also many events the firm hosts where you are able to put your new skills to practice. Other workshops I have regularly attended focus on legal training. It is vital, especially from a risk management perspective, that
we ensure we are up-to-date with developments in the legal world.
During the one and half years of my training contract I have had the opportunity to work in 4 different offices; London for a year, a short business trip to Paris, six months in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and I am now being sent to Hong Kong for my final seat. One of the reasons I chose Herbert Smith was its international presence. Having international experience at an early stage of your career is invaluable.
Generally in an international office you are one of a couple or even the only trainee. As daunting as this may sound it is actually a great experience; you are given more responsibility, able to manage your own time and have direct contact with your clients, all of which you may not necessarily be able to do in London. There is also the added bonus of experiencing another culture and travelling whilst working abroad, not to mention the great weather.
Quite often when working for a firm like Herbert Smith, you will find yourself involved in high profile/large transactions and disputes, working for some of the firms biggest clients alongside the firms most senior partners. Meeting tight deadlines can be stressful, however you will find that you are supported by your team and rewarded for your efforts.