Position: Trainee Solicitor at Allen & Overy
Location: Dubai, UAE
Degree: LLB 2014
HOW DID YOUR EDUCATION AT SOAS BENEFIT YOU IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS AT ALLEN & OVERY AND THROUGHOUT YOUR TRAINING CONTRACT?
The structure of the law degree at SOAS is unique. It gave me access to an interdisciplinary way of seeing things and analysing problems. At SOAS, we were taught to take economic and social considerations when tackling a legal question. When you apply for training contracts and during your time as a trainee, you are expected to ‘think commercially’. The fact that the SOAS education was not purely focused on black letter law set a great foundation for thinking commercially.
WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS FOR TRAINING AT ALLEN & OVERY, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE MIDDLE EAST TRAINING CONTRACT?
Allen & Overy is a great firm because it invests in its trainees. Yes, there are late nights and yes, there are mundane tasks! But as a trainee at A&O, you’re surrounded by highly intelligent and driven individuals at all levels. The Middle East training contract was a great opportunity for me both personally and professionally. It allowed me to spend time in three different cities and to get a feel for working in different offices at a very early stage in my career.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRAINING EXPERIENCE?
It sounds cliché but it’s definitely the steep learning curve. It is difficult to appreciate the differences between departments at a large law firm when you’re 18 and in university but it all becomes very real once you’re on the job. At a firm like A&O, you’re likely to get involved with a host of different tasks and you will take something away from each of them. Not only does your technical knowledge improve, but so do other skills, like your interpersonal skills. Sharing an office with someone for 6 months is a fantastic learning opportunity because you get to observe others’ working practices very closely.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOAS STUDENTS LOOKING TO ENTER THE LEGAL PROFESSION AS SOLICITORS?
First of all, enjoy your time as students at SOAS. I can safely say that both the structure and content of our law degree are very different from other law programs (and in my opinion, far more interesting!). Be bold, and speak to people who are trainees or work at law firms; do not be afraid to ask questions. The more information you get, the simpler the application process becomes. It is also important to learn about the firms that you’re interested in and to figure out whether they work for you to make sure that you get the most out of your careers as solicitors.