University: Durham University
Year of qualification: 2020
Department: Privacy and Data
What attracted you to a career in law?
I didn’t always work as a lawyer, I was initially working in Parliament, but wanted a more challenging career. I asked a few of my friends who were solicitors what the job was like and it was their insight that made me realise it was the right path for me.
Why solicitor not barrister?
I’m sure I would have enjoyed being a barrister, but I didn’t feel it provided the same level of job security that a law firm offers. Plus, I really enjoy working within a team and collaborating with others, which made becoming a solicitor the more attractive option.
How did you decide which firms to apply to?
This can be a difficult decision for prospective candidates especially because there are so many great law firms out there. However, you can narrow down the firms by researching the type of work the firm does, the clients they work with, the seats they offer and practice areas that they specialise in.
Try to focus on the firms that you think would be the best fit for you and then apply to these places. Applying to too many law firms can be detrimental, so try to shortlist your list of preferred firms.
How much work experience had you had? Why is it so important?
I had already had a career before I qualified as a lawyer, which meant that I could apply this previous experience in my training contract applications. However, although my CV was relatively strong, I didn’t actually have any legal work experience when I began my legal journey. So, before applying for training contracts I set out to get as much legal experience as I could to help strengthen my applications.
What do you think made your application successful?
I understood that every work experience I had could be used to demonstrate why I would make a good solicitor. As I completed my applications, I would ask myself whether what I had written demonstrated the value I could add to the firm. I was always thinking of ways to apply the relevant skills I had learnt, whether that was teamwork or working with key stakeholders. It’s all relevant experience as long as you can apply it and use it to mould yourself into a good solicitor.
Which departments did you train in?
I initially trained in data privacy when the GDPR first came in, then I moved on to structured finance, private equity transactions and finally litigation.
What do you wish you’d known about being a trainee before you started that you now do?
Just because a firm says they offer a seat in a specific department doesn’t mean you will definitely get a chance to sit in it. Some firms only offer seats annually or just have one seat available, so if you’re interested in that firm and a specific area, reach out to HR to find out how many seats are available and if they’re offered in each seat rotation.
Please outline your area of expertise. What might you do in a typical day?
My area of expertise is data privacy. Data privacy and data breaches are frequently in the news, making it an exciting area of law. What’s incredible is that 90% of all data on earth was created in the past two years. With the amount of data growing exponentially, there are many companies who need data privacy lawyers to help them process and use their data in a legal and compliant way.
What makes your firm stand out from the rest?
Shoosmiths has excellent quality clients, a wonderful and friendly culture, as well as a great work/life balance. It’s important for me to have that healthy work/life balance coupled with good quality work.
What skills/strengths do you need to be a successful solicitor?
One of the major skills you need to be a successful solicitor is doing the things that are in your control well, for example, drafting a document to a deadline. Secondly, it’s important to understand that the client will not want the law recited back to them, they want you to apply the law to their specific circumstances so that it’s understandable for them.
What advice do you have for budding solicitors who are contemplating a career in law?
Go in with your eyes open. Law is a difficult path that takes time, commitment, and perseverance. If you can do that, you have the skills necessary to become a successful lawyer.
What’s your signature dish? Or what book are you reading at the moment?
I like fried gnocchi with Mediterranean roast vegetables, both if I’m cooking for myself or eating out.