Alex studied Law at the London School of Economics. He is now completing his training contract at Norton Rose Fulbright
Why did you decide on a career in law?
One of the things that attracted me to a career in law, and in particular commercial law, was realising that being a lawyer is about helping clients achieve their goals - not simply telling the client what the law is. To do that, it is important to have an understanding of the client’s industry and wider economic factors and how they interact with the relevant legal framework and the client’s objectives, not just being an expert in a particular area of law.
What was the application process like?
The application process was, as you would expect, rigorous. At every stage, however, the graduate recruitment team running the process and the partners conducting the interviews were incredibly helpful and welcoming, which made it feel a lot less intimidating. The whole process felt like the team wanted to get to know you and see you succeed, rather than try and trip you up.
What’s a typical day like as a trainee solicitor?
A typical day varies a lot depending on which team you are working with. In tax, lots of my time was spent considering questions from clients and preparing memorandums, or preparing documents for an upcoming hearing at the Tax Tribunal (and, of course, attending the hearing). In project finance, my day might involve reviewing comments from the client on a set of finance documents and discussing with the matter partner, and catching up on the CP process with the paralegal team in Newcastle.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
My favourite part of the job is the moment when a difficult question or task ‘clicks’ and starts to make sense. At this point in my career, much of what I do day-to-day is new so I spend a lot of time working through problems, applying academic knowledge from my studies and building on that with the help of practitioner materials and colleagues. It can be overwhelming approaching an unfamiliar task, so it is especially rewarding to see tangible progress and understand something that I didn’t earlier that day.
What are the challenges?
The flip side to the above is that sometimes the lightbulb moment doesn’t come by itself. That can be challenging but it is an important skill to be able to know when to ask for help. My experience at Norton Rose Fulbright is that everyone is happy to take time out of their schedule to talk through a task with you.