Position: Trainee Solicitor at Allen & Overy
Location: Dubai, UAE
Degree: LLB 2016
HOW DID YOUR EDUCATION AT SOAS BENEFIT YOU WHEN APPLYING TO ALLEN & OVERY AND THROUGHOUT YOUR TRAINING CONTRACT?
The SOAS LLB is unique not only from an academic viewpoint but also due to the wider extracurricular experience that SOAS provides. At SOAS, I took courses such as the Legal Systems of Asia and Africa and I was able to take part in the SOAS chapter of Lawyers Without Borders. With this all-rounded law school experience, I felt that my educational background stood out in the application process as one that encompassed a truly international and global outlook rather than a more conventional law degree. Since Allen & Overy is an international law firm with many deals involving two or more offices, I feel that my SOAS degree will help me during my training contract.
WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS FOR TRAINING AT ALLEN & OVERY, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE MIDDLE EAST TRAINING CONTRACT?
In my opinion, a firm is as good as the people who work there. A&O is a firm that stood out to me as being one that does exceptionally well in the legal market across jurisdictions, is global and innovative in its outlook, and maintains its strong firm-wide culture through its recruitment of sociable and friendly lawyers who come from very strong academic, yet diverse backgrounds. Training at A&O means that I will be able to learn from some of the best people in the industry, work on complex transactions and be given exposure to some of the world’s most-reputable clients, all while being supported by the firm during my two years as a trainee. More specifically, professionally, I wanted exposure to a combination of emerging market and more developed market work early on in my career, which is exactly what the Middle East Training Contract is able to provide given its presence and reputation in the region. On a more personal level, since I am living in Dubai, the Middle East Training Contract gives me the opportunity to work in Dubai (with a chance to qualify as an English-qualified solicitor into the Dubai office) and also have an opportunity to experience the firm’s other international offices with a secondment to the London office.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRAINING EXPERIENCE?
It’s been surreal for me to see transactions we have worked very hard on for many weeks being mentioned in the news! This has happened a few times now and I still can’t believe it sometimes – it’s definitely a very rewarding experience.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOAS STUDENTS LOOKING TO ENTER THE LEGAL PROFESSION AS SOLICITORS?
I think that SOAS students are already lucky because the university has a strong reputation for providing a unique law school experience – those looking to enter the legal profession should use this to their advantage by tailoring their academic experience accordingly. Apart from building a strong academic profile, I would suggest that students read the FT, the Economist, and other news outlets to stay on top of commercial trends happening around the world, not just in the UK – this always helps to demonstrate commercial awareness in interviews! Lastly, many students like the idea of working as a commercial solicitor but are not fully aware of what kind of work this entails – I would suggest learning more about the profession so there are no surprises when it comes to finding the right training contract/law firm.