Name: Victoria Sugden
Age: 24 years old
Degree and university: Law at Durham University. I completed my LPC at Nottingham Law School.
Job Title: Trainee EC/Competition, CMS Cameron McKenna
Why did you decide on a career in law? Having done various work experience placements at a young age, including shadowing a criminal barrister, I was confident that a career in law would give me both the variety of work and intellectual stimulation that I needed. During the summer holidays of my second year at university, I undertook four vacation placements, which gave me the chance to gain an insight into the daily workings of different departments and different law firms. During this time I realised that a career in a city law firm would give me the interaction with people I wanted and varied career opportunities.
What did the application process involve? I obtained my training contract with Cameron’s after my second year at university. Initially I did lots of research into the firm before I sent off my online application form, and completed an on-line verbal reasoning test. I was then invited down to London to attend an assessment day at the offices. This involved a presentation, interview and analysis exercise in the morning, and then I was invited to stay on for a group exercise, and a partner interview in the afternoon. Although the day was tiring, the tasks enabled us to demonstrate a variety of skills sets.
What type of work are you doing in your curent seat? I am currently sat in EC/Competition. It is quite a niche area of the law, but I have been able to get a mixture of different matters including cartel cases, procurement, EC mergers and State Aid issues. My work over the last few months has involved a lot of research and usually involves me scouring several competition authorities’ websites on a daily basis to keep up with the developing case law, not only in the UK, but also throughout Europe.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides? I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to get involved in lots of different cases; it makes my days exciting and varied. In Competition I have enjoyed being given tasks and having to research various different sources in order to find a solution to a problem. I am also grateful to be working with some of the greatest experts in the legal field and learning from their experience.
The downside to the job is the unpredictability of the hours we work. Although my hours in Competition have been very stable and regular, occasionally I have got a quick job that has taken longer to complete than I anticipated.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? There are lots of skills people can develop during their career in law, including the ability to be diplomatic, confident, supportive, and approachable. Also it helps if you don’t take yourself too seriously and understand that your training contract will be a steep learning curve.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates coming into this sector?
My best piece of advice for graduates considering a career in law would be to start applying for vacation placements as soon as possible. Although the applications forms are long and sometimes exhausting to complete, it is all worth while if you gain a placement at a firm as you are able to get first hand experience into the daily mechanics of a law firm, and hopefully gain the confirmation needed to ensure that the career path is really for you.
CMS Cameron McKenna offers students 4 vacation schemes a year running over Easter, Christmas and summer, plus the chance to meet us at our regular Open Days. For all deadlines and how to apply please visit our website www.cmstalklaw.com.