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Meet the lawyer

Thomas Stables

Thomas Stables

University: Newcastle University
Degree: Philosophy
Year of qualification: 2020
Position: Senior associate
Department: Regulatory disputes
Pronouns: He/him

What attracted you to a career in law?

I’ve always known that I wanted to work hard and solve complex problems. From my philosophy degree, I developed skills of analysis and critical thinking that I was keen to put into practice. Plus, I’ve always been interested in talking to clients, and building and developing a relationship with them.

How did you decide which firms to apply to?

I spent a lot of time researching firms on recruitment websites like LawCareers.Net. I also attended networking sessions, seminars, presentations and recruitment events where I spoke to specific firms.

How much work experience had you had? Why is it so important?

It’s very important because it shows you what you’re signing up for. There are many different jobs within the law, so it’s important to find out more about the specific job you’re applying to do. Before my training contract, I attended insight schemes, gained work experience in private practice, and got work shadowing experience. I would advise aspiring lawyers to get their hands on as much work experience as possible.

What do you think made your application successful?

My application was successful because it was tailored to the firm I was applying to. If you can swap the name of the firm that you’re applying to the name of one of the firm’s competitors and it still makes complete sense, then your application isn’t specific enough.

Please discuss a specific deal/case that you were involved with as a trainee, outlining your role in the matter

A case I worked on when I was a trainee was with a major tech company. They had an issue with a Chinese supplier of a high-tech product distributed across the UK and the EU. The issue was that the quality of the product wasn’t meeting the company’s expectations, and might have been exposing its users to danger. My job as a trainee was to liaise with experts to get their opinion and insights about this product and find out whether it presented a risk to users. My role involved coordinating with the different international counsel to get their input into what our approach should be in order to guide the client through to a resolution of this crisis.

What do you most/least enjoy about your career and why?

I enjoy the challenge of going into the office every day and not knowing which question I’ll get from my client. I also enjoy being able to help clients with issues they might be struggling with – it’s massively satisfying.

The flip side of that challenge and dynamic environment is the unpredictable hours. For example, if I get a random query from one of the big clients then I have to make sure it is resolved quickly.

How involved are you with business development and promoting the firm?

I’m very involved in business development at the firm. Osborne Clarke offers as much responsibility as we want in this area. This means you’re able to get involved with business development activity alongside your other work.

I have regular calls with clients to check whether we can do anything more for them, especially the ones I’ve developed close relationships with. Associates are given numerous opportunities to get involved with the Transformation Drivers, which is one of our big client-facing campaigns.

What makes your firm stand out from the rest?

Osborne Clarke stands out from other law firms because it’s genuinely a nice place to work. It’s not a typical law firm environment where everyone is sitting quietly at their desk and just getting on with the work; it’s a collaborative workplace. Everyone is approachable and willing to make time for you if you need help or assistance with anything.

What skills/strengths do you need to be a successful solicitor?

You need to be driven, ambitious and resilient. Your career is what you make of it. There are opportunities to build relationships with clients, learn about areas of the law and figure out how to solve particular problems that other people might not have looked into or might not have the expertise for.

This is a hard job, so be realistic about what you’re signing up for. But, at the same time, remember that Osborne Clarke is a firm that offers plenty of guidance and supervision, so someone is always there in the background to help.

What advice do you have for budding solicitors who are contemplating a career in law?

Learn as much as you can about the firms you’re interested in and the kind of law that you want to practise. There are so many routes into law and many jobs within the profession. I knew early on that I wanted to work for big tech clients, in the City of London, but I’ve also got friends who knew they wanted to go into family or criminal law. It’s also important to think about the kind of environment that you want to work in, the area of law you want to practise in and the kinds of clients that you’re interested in working for.

Describe the firm in three words

Entrepreneurial, collaborative and ambitious.

What’s the biggest opportunity you’ve been given since joining the firm?

Being able to launch a new business development group and find an area that we need to invest time in and coordinate expertise around. Also, being told by partners that I have their support is a great feeling. At Osborne Clarke, partners have confidence in junior associates which is very encouraging, and opportunities are not just limited to the senior members of the firm.

What book are you currently reading?

An excellent piece of original sci-fi called The Foundations Series.