Interview by Zainab Hassan
In this interview, a trainee solicitor in the fourth seat of their training contract provides a personal insight into their journey so far as a City lawyer. Having undertaken vacation schemes at Magic Circle and global law firms, this trainee found their path in the legal sphere and shares some of the opportunities available to aspiring lawyers.
Hi, please share with us what the current stage of your career is.
I am a trainee solicitor at a Magic Circle law firm in London. I have sat in the following seats: corporate/M&A, banking, litigation, and competition & regulatory. Alongside this, I volunteer at a local law centre, where I advise clients who cannot afford a solicitor on a broad range of civil disputes and help them to find the correct solutions to their issues.
What helped you choose your career path?
Completing a range of work experience – from stints at banks and think-tanks to vacation schemes at criminal and corporate law firms. Studying – and enjoying – law at university confirmed my decision to become a lawyer. In terms of practice areas, corporate law seemed to be an obvious choice. Aside from the keep-cups and plentiful popcorn provided on-campus by big law firms, they appealed to me for many reasons: LPC funding was provided and great pay, brilliant training, direct exposure to impressive work and exceptional lawyers; geographic mobility; and (the promise of) a world of opportunity on exit.
What has been your proudest achievement personally and/or professionally?
Nurturing a sense of self-confidence which has allowed me to overcome imposter syndrome, defend my work, and make contributions without feeling the need to undersell myself. As lawyers, we sometimes have a tendency to tie our self-worth and sense of identity to our academic and professional achievements – I don’t think this is healthy (not least if things go awry) and so I have deliberately avoided specifying any “tangible” achievements.
What advice would you give to students entering the legal profession?
Applications are demanding and can be frustrating, but there is plenty of help and support available – seek it. Guides such as Chambers Student and The Legal 500 provide a wealth of “insider” knowledge. Organisations such as Rare Recruitment, SEO London, and Aspiring Solicitors provide invaluable expertise and one-to-one support. If you have connections in the legal profession, ask them to review your applications; if you don’t, make them – attend law fairs and events at firms, and use LinkedIn meaningfully. And, of course, see what your university’s career advisers have to offer. People are more generous with their time than you may imagine.
Finally, what is your favourite quote?
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”
For the purpose of this interview, the trainee has remained anonymous and we thank them for their time and replies. If you would like to be featured, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!