When you do a Law degree, you learn about the academic side of law. During your training contract, you begin to understand how the law works in a commercial context – and what strikes me now is how much I’ve learned about the commercial world.
My first seat was in Real Estate where I learned how property companies and developers attract tenants to lease innovative retail and office spaces (like the Walkie Talkie building). I sat in Business Restructuring and Insolvency for my second seat and discovered how external and internal factors can affect the financial health of a business and even whole sectors. I went on secondment to Barclays Wealth in my third seat which was a fantastic opportunity to get to know and really understand what our clients want from us and how we, as external lawyers, can help our clients achieve their business goals. I am currently sitting in International Arbitration and have seen first-hand how we represent our clients' interests when things "go wrong". I am very excited to be joining the Real Estate team as an associate in October 2017.
I’m starting to appreciate the way businesses work, how they respond to challenging economic situations and how they innovate to stay at the top of their market. Understanding businesses is crucial to a commercial lawyer's day-to-day life.
Our open door policy means that lawyers at different levels work closely with each other and I’ve learned a lot from the people around me. For example, one of my supervisors was truly inspirational and took time to train me and other members of the team. As well as being a fantastic support to us, she was also an incredible lawyer who managed to balance a challenging job alongside being a parent. I also sat with a partner and was able to ask him questions and learn from him directly without feeling I should be going through someone else. Learning from those at the top of their field is a big advantage of working here.
Working with international colleagues has also taught me a lot. In addition to learning international law, I’m developing my organisational skills – especially when the London office is managing the transaction. On a recent deal, I had to identify which international counsel needed to be consulted, lead the line of questioning and manage the responses. It was a great experience!
There are many things that set Hogan Lovells apart from other firms. A key one for me is the variety of client secondments available. As a trainee and also later in your career, they are a good way to develop professionally, in a variety of practice areas.
My advice to those about to start a training contract would be to get stuck in as much as possible. The more you do, the more you will learn and grow in confidence.