Position: Trainee Solicitor at Allen & Overy
Location: London, UK
Degree: LLB 2015
HOW DID YOUR EDUCATION AT SOAS BENEFIT YOU IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND THROUGHOUT YOUR TRAINING CONTRACT?
Studying modules such as Chinese Law, Islamic law and the Legal Systems of Asia and Africa helped to develop my sensitivity to international perspectives. This global approach to law has benefited me as my work often includes multi-jurisdictional elements. Co-founding and managing the SOAS Law Journal’s then 27-member editorial team provided me with significant experience in organising people and running projects efficiently. The Journal also enabled me to sharpen my analytical skills, making thousands of individual revisions to several dozens of articles to bring them to completion. These skills were very useful during my training contract interview process and continue to help me in my work today, where I manage projects, draft documents and fact-check information.
WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS FOR TRAINING AT ALLEN & OVERY?
My motivation for applying to A&O was partly influenced by the firm’s significant global reach and impressive banking and corporate reputation; practices that I was particularly interested in. Thomson Reuters had reported that A&O has advised borrowers and lenders on more deals in 2016 than any other law firm, and this appealed to me. I was also attracted to A&O’s approach towards developing its trainees to be both legally experienced and to possess a strong understanding of business and finance. This has been confirmed during my training contract, where we have had skills and knowledge training days, covering topics from negotiation to accounts. A&O’s friendly culture and ambition to be the most advanced law firm were also appealing.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRAINING EXPERIENCE?
So far, it has been managing the update of a Euro Medium Term Note Programme (a type of debt instrument). The value of the Programme was large (several billion Euros), which was exciting and I was given a great deal of responsibility. The experience was particularly enjoyable as I managed the process smoothly from start to finish; reviewing documents, liaising with different parties, and keeping my team informed on the progress.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOAS STUDENTS LOOKING TO ENTER THE LEGAL PROFESSION AS SOLICITORS?
Make sure you find time to get legal work experience in your chosen field. If it is in commercial law for example, applying for vacation schemes is a great way to get further exposure and potentially a training contract. At the same time, pursue other interests outside of law where you can develop other essential skills, such as teamwork, organisational and communication skills. Finally, know that you can always create opportunities for yourself to grow if you cannot find them immediately available – dream big, work consistently and I’m sure you’ll go very far!