After graduating from LSE with a law degree, I did a Summer Vacation Scheme with Baker McKenzie and was offered a Training Contract. I took it, because I’d experienced what a supportive and friendly firm Baker McKenzie really is. It has that reputation for a reason. There’s very much an open-door policy here – I know I can ask anyone for advice and help, any time.
In my second seat, I got the chance to do a secondment in the Tokyo office for six months. I volunteered while I was in my first seat and everything happened so quickly. My seniors were really supportive, helping with visas and connecting me with my new supervisors in Japan.
I worked in the Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions team and I was thrown straight in! In Japan, ‘Trainee Solicitors’ don’t exist. So I was effectively a Junior Associate, which was terrifying to begin with. The expectations were high. But it was great to have that level of responsibility and to face a real challenge. Plus – just like in the London office – everyone was really friendly and laid back. It wasn’t a formal atmosphere and everyone was willing to help me. Whether I was facing challenges in the legal work, or in the cultural differences, I was never alone. I could always rely on colleagues for support.
The experience has helped me to be less afraid of new experiences. I have confidence now that I can figure something out even if I’ve never done it before. I’ve developed a cultural sensitivity – my mind is more open to the differences between people. I have new connections on the other side of the world and to me that is invaluable.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone at the Firm has gone out of their way to be as supportive as possible. It’s very reassuring to know that even when the world throws something completely unexpected and unprecedented our way, the Baker McKenzie response is immediate and people-focused.
One thing that’s been really great is how the Firm has responded to the current global pandemic – our wellbeing is the real focus. We’ve been sent home working kits and equipment to help us adjust quickly and easily to remote working. We’ve all been encouraged to use Skype and messaging platforms as much as we want, as if we were popping into someone’s office to ask a question. It’s shown me that at every level of the Firm, people care about each other and will make a real effort to support Trainee Solicitors and colleagues.