Interview With Trainee From Burges Salmon

| Career Insights

Interview With Trainee From Burges Salmon

We sat down with Carly, a trainee solicitor at Burges Salmon who shared her insights into the training contract process and her experience as a trainee.

Why Did You Choose a Career In Law?

My route to becoming a trainee is a bit unconventional. The work that lawyers carry out has interested me since I was in sixth from. To this end, I attended mock trials and studied law at Queen Mary University of London. However, after my degree I was not entirely sure I still wanted to be a lawyer as I did not enjoy the theoretical side of the law as much as I hoped I would. Before making my decision, I worked as a paralegal for a while and found that I enjoyed the commercial side of legal practice. I liked that I could advise clients on the law but also provide them with a commercial viewpoint. This motivated me to start applying for training contracts.

What Is The Structure Of Your Training Contract Like?

Burges Salmon is different to other firms in that we have a six-seat training contract. Each seat lasts four months and every trainee must do a seat in Dispute Resolution. Your last seat is usually the one you qualify into. Trainees submit a form ranking their preferred seats and these are often considered while placing trainees. I currently sit in Disputes but have done seats in Corporate Finance, Projects, Corporate Tax, and Funds and Financial Regulation so far.

What Sorts Of Tasks Do You Perform On a Daily Basis?

The kind of tasks trainees undertake vary widely depending on the kind of seat. A more contentious seat like Disputes would see trainees undertaking bundling, drafting witness statements and assisting barristers with research and preparation for trial. Trainees in a transactional seat would assist in preparing ancillary documents such as board minutes and Non-Disclosure Agreements and attending client calls. Seats such as these often require a high level of organisation and project management. Advisory seats are usually slower and require trainees to undertake in-depth research in order to advise the client. I gravitate more towards advisory seats as I like getting to the bottom of complicated questions. The teams are usually smaller and more client facing which means that trainees get additional responsibility and are able to build a relationship with the clients.

What Is The Best Part Of Your Training Contract At Burges Salmon?

The best part of my training contract is definitely how much I have learned throughout the process. At first, I did not expect to be thrown right into the work, but the responsibility and trust afforded to me made me feel like I had been a part of the team for years. The firm is very accommodating and understanding of the fact that trainees are on a learning path and are always ready to lend a helping hand.

What Has Been The Biggest Challenge Throughout Your Journey As a Trainee?

I think the biggest challenge has been adapting to the different styles that each team works in. Since we change seats every four months, it if often difficult to gauge the way a new department works. What helped me through the first few seats was accepting that I may get things wrong. Nevertheless, this is a skill that comes more naturally to me now that I am near the end of my training contract.

What Else Have You Been Involved In Outside Of Day-To-Day Work At The Firm?

I am involved with the firm’s sustainability network where I help arrange events and talks. I also contributed to the firm’s sustainability policy by helping draft the firm’s paper reduction policy. We recently celebrated Green Week where we encouraged members of the firm to adopt sustainable practices within their daily routine. We also screened a David Attenborough documentary which was a big hit! I also work with Action Tutoring to tutor children aged 9-10 and the Jessie May Trust for children with life-limiting disabilities.

What Advice Would You Give Applicants Who Are Keen On Applying To Burges Salmon For a Training Contract?

If there is one key or secret to obtaining a training contract, it is to display genuine interest in the firm. If you are able to establish that you are enthusiastic about the firm and its work, you will immediately stand out amongst the other applicants. Another tip is to demonstrate commercial awareness and to have knowledge of how businesses work and what they want. Most importantly, make sure to not put too much pressure on yourself. The training contract application process can be a difficult journey. Firms do not expect you to know everything, they just want you to have a willingness to learn.

By Neha Sunil



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