updated on 03 September 2019
The LawCareersNetLIVE conference provided me with a unique opportunity to network with leading international law firms, learning about their practice areas and gaining insights into the types of deals that they worked on.
The day started with registration followed by networking over breakfast. This was a great opportunity to meet like-minded students who were interested in commercial law and wanted to learn more about certain practice areas such as asset finance, M&A and private wealth.
This was followed by a welcome speech and the panel discussion where several law firms’ representatives explained how law firms operate as businesses and what challenges they face. The speakers also discussed the role of trainees and the type of work that they would be expected to do. I learned that even junior members of the team such as trainees were very important for the successful operation of a law firm. The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session where students asked more questions based on the experience of speakers.
After having a short break, the delegates were relocated to workshop rooms. My first workshop was international M&A led by Baker McKenzie. The firm’s representatives talked through some of the key challenges in that practice area and the role taken by each member of the team. It was followed by an interactive session focusing on a case study around key issues which regularly come up in a multi-jurisdictional M&A deal.
This was followed by a networking lunch where I asked Baker McKenzie lawyers about specific deals they worked on and their experience at the firm. Meeting fellow delegates and sharing the workshop experiences was also very interesting.
My second workshop was on asset finance transactions, hosted by Watson Farley & Williams. It included a case study exercise which featured key elements in structuring and documenting an asset finance transaction, including a trainee’s role. The workshop leaders explained a relatively complex area in a very clear manner which helped me learn more about asset finance. There was also an interactive quiz about flags of the countries where a vessel featuring in the transaction could have been registered. I even managed to win a notebook by giving the correct answer!
Then, during the next networking session, I spoke to Vinson & Elkins’ representatives because I was interested in the energy sector and the firm had an outstanding reputation in that industry. We discussed how the energy industry was changing and how companies relying on oil and gas revenues reacted to challenges related to global warming.
During the Question Time session, a panel of recruiting experts provided advice on what makes a good applicant, how to prepare and present a successful application form, and how to excel during interviews. This was a great opportunity to ask questions and understand what law firms are looking for in future trainees.
The day was very exciting and provided me with a better understanding of how law firms operate as a business, how specific practice areas worked, as well as what qualities I needed to develop and improve to make my application stronger.
Serge Durdyyev is a second-year law student at the University of Bristol and vice president of the University of Bristol Law Club.