I had studied Law at the University of Cambridge and firms would visit the university to speak to students which exposed me to the possibility of a career in law. I trained at Linklaters before qualifying as a solicitor in March 2019. I wanted to pursue law because an international career appealed to me. I really enjoy the teamwork involved in working on multi-jurisdictional transactions and meeting other lawyers from across the network, and I have been lucky to work in the Linklaters Hong Kong office.
Yes and no. I developed certain skills such as analytical thinking and strong written communication early as a student. However, studying law and practising law is very different. I don’t think anyone coming from a non-law background is at any disadvantage and a lot of the skills we learn as junior lawyers are developed on the job.
I loved my time at Linklaters, I enjoyed working with the team and leaving was a hard decision. However, I had wanted a change after spending the previous 18 months working remotely during the pandemic. US firms dominate the leveraged finance market, and I had frequently worked opposite Latham and was curious to see how it would compare to a UK firm. The day-to-day of my life at both firms are surprisingly similar – both firms have a very high calibre of work and the teams are friendly. We have a bigger high-yield practice at Latham so I work on more deals with a bond in the structure and there is more work involving our US offices.
Rotating seats was always challenging as I would feel like I was finally coming to grips with the work and then would have to start from scratch again. However, it was fun getting to know a different department in the firm every 6 months and meeting a new team.
My highlight while working at Linklaters will always be the people. The work is similar at any of the top banking firms but it truly is the people and the mentorship that make a team a team. I learnt a lot from my seniors at Linklaters, both technically and also with general career advice. We had a very strong team of juniors at Linklaters too and excellent trainees that I had worked closely with as an associate are now qualifying back into the banking practice, which is really special to see.
I joined when the firm was still fully remote but people were very welcoming and I spoke regularly with deal teams over the phone. Many people joined the department during the pandemic so I was certainly not alone. We have regular drinks trolleys and people do tend to go into the office more frequently now. Latham has been great in encouraging people back into the office and there are various mentoring and affinity group initiatives that make it easy to get to know people in an informal setting too.
Get as much work experience and talk to as many people as possible. This will help substantiate the ‘why law’ questions at the interview stage but also help you see if law is really the path you want to go down.
I’d like to still be enjoying my job and hopefully a dog owner!