I had no exposure to law growing up. No one in my family had much idea about the legal profession, so it’s all been very new for me. I only decided to do a law degree at Leeds University because I knew law was a subject that could take me to lots of different places, and I really enjoyed it. During my second year, I attended law fairs, dinners and networking events that Baker McKenzie organised. I was attracted to the Firm by its friendly culture. Even as a student, I could contact someone at the Firm via LinkedIn to get really helpful advice.
I was disappointed not to get a place on the Vacation Scheme in my second year, but the feedback I got was really positive and I succeeded with my application in my final year. It led to a Training Contract which I was delighted to accept. When I approached the Firm about a paralegal position for a year before starting my Training Contract, they were happy to arrange that for me. They really understood that I wanted to do something relevant before my Training Contract.
Something else that drew me to Baker McKenzie was the Firm’s status as a top employer for women in law. I liked their global presence, as I knew it would give me opportunities to experience life in international offices. Also, the Firm’s smaller intake of Trainee Solicitors enabled me to get a much broader training experience.
My first seat was in Energy,Mining & Infrastructure, during which my supervisor regularly contacted me to check I was getting the kind of experiences I wanted. One of the many highlights was working on a deal that made it into the press. Seeing that gives you a real buzz. I’m in my second seat at the moment in the Tax practice area. I’m working remotely, doing Baker McKenzie work in the mornings and then focusing on assignments for a New York client I’m on a partial secondment with in the afternoons. Getting exposure to clients and going on client calls is great. It’s been fascinating seeing the differences between working client-side and in private practice.
Moving seats certainly keeps things interesting. Your working methods change every six months, so do the people you work with, and what’s expected of you alters too. I think it’s very important to go into your Training Contract with an open mind. The seats you experience could be in areas of the Firm that you end up focusing on in the future. You just don’t know which area you’re going to like best until you’ve experienced them.