Case study

Katie Henson — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Dentons

Katie studied LLB Law at the University of Bristol. She’s now a trainee solicitor at Dentons

What attracted you to apply to Dentons specifically?

The firm is truly global and this really stood out to me. It provides the opportunity to work on complex legal matters for a variety of clients on an international scale.

The positive culture also attracted me to the firm. Dentons is diverse and supports the idea that our diversity makes us stronger together. I feel extremely supported and accepted, and importantly I am encouraged to be myself.

I was also attracted to Dentons' commitment to trainee development. We are encouraged to take on more responsibility as we progress, allowing us to continuously develop and learn. There are no limits to the level of responsibility you can receive as a trainee at Dentons.

What’s a typical day like as a trainee solicitor?

Typically, I start my day reviewing, responding to and filing emails that I have received overnight, and updating my to-do list. At 9.30am I attend a daily department wide Zoom call.

I then start to work through my to-do list, though this is constantly changing as new tasks are allocated to me throughout the day. Tasks can vary between responding to internal and external emails, undertaking legal research, drafting and reviewing documents, and attending meetings. At 5pm I also have a daily catch-up call with my supervisor. Dentons is a non-hierarchical firm, and I frequently communicate and work with senior partners in the team.

Every evening before I log off for the day, I update and close my time recordings. I also update my training contract record once a week.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I thoroughly enjoy the variety of work that the job offers. The job can be demanding, however the sense of achievement when working on high-calibre legal matters with an international scope makes this job extremely rewarding.

What are the challenges?

Throughout the training contract I am constantly dealing with the uncertainty of completing tasks for the first time. However, I have learned to accept that occasional mistakes are part of the learning process.

I receive work from different members of the team, and managing expectations and workloads can be challenging. Maintaining communication with my supervisors and keeping them updated with the progress of a task is essential. I regularly amend my to-do list throughout the day to ensure I am prioritising tasks appropriately.

How do I get into commercial law?

All experience is good experience whether it has been obtained through legal work placements, non-legal work or through sports and other hobbies. All of your experiences show that you are a well-rounded individual.

Go beyond just reading articles in the news in order to gain commercial awareness. Analyse the news article and think about what the implications of it are and why it is significant for clients and legal practitioners.

Before starting an application for a vacation scheme or training contract, make sure you have spent a significant amount of time researching the firm you are applying for. Understand the firm's unique selling point and demonstrate this research in your application.

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