Case study

Claire Hooi — Trainee solicitor

Slaughter and May

Claire is a trainee solicitor in the financial regulation team at Slaughter and May. Discover how she got her job

How did you get your job at Slaughter and May and why did you choose this firm?

I’d always had an interest in commercial law but I had to work part-time while studying law at university so did not have the time for a vacation/work experience scheme. I was afraid that this would count against me however, having encountered Slaughter and May’s team at a university law fair, I was encouraged to apply and reassured that the firm appreciated diversity in terms of experiences.

Slaughter and May is one of the most reputable firms out there and carries out exceptional legal work for a range of impressive clients, but it was the warmth of the trainees at the law fair and the friendliness of the HR team that drew me to the firm.

When I applied to Slaughter and May I appreciated the simplicity - only a CV and a cover letter were required. I was invited to interview with two partners. I first had to complete a written exercise and the interview came after. It was very friendly, with the partners asking in-depth questions about my academic experiences and my part-time work. We also discussed an article about the collapse of a significant construction company (while the article was random, it actually featured a client for both partners, so I learned a lot about the firm’s work). They made huge efforts to make me feel comfortable - there was quite a lot of laughter. One of the partners had also worked throughout university and I appreciated that they made the effort to find commonalities in our experiences. A trainee in the firm then gave me a quick tour. A few days later, one of the interviewing partners called to offer me my training contract and despite having offers from other law firms, I knew that Slaughter and May’s quality and warmth would be unmatched elsewhere and I was happy to accept.

What does your role at the firm involve?

My role has varied across all my seats. I have been given huge responsibilities in terms of drafting documents, overseeing ancillary transactional processes such as signing and conditions precedent, and liaising directly with clients.

I have also had to carry out typical trainee tasks such as proofreading, court filing and document review. It has been a great mixture of work, both great and small.

The lack of billable target hour’s means that I am never afraid to ask questions to partners and associates even if they seem busy. I am always given guidance in an open manner. The support and encouragement has been present throughout lockdown and despite sitting in three seats virtually, I know I continue to become a better lawyer overall because of this.

What training have you received?

Throughout the pandemic, the learning and development team arranged virtual training beyond the typical trainee work. The trainers (sometimes external speakers, sometimes our own partners and associates) found numerous ways to make these interactive and engaging.

What do you enjoy about your job?

While the work offered to trainees at this firm is unparalleled, I have greatly enjoyed the opportunities on offer outside of work - whether it is pro bono or helping organise events in one of the firm’s networks (of which there are many, including the Christian Network and the DIVERSE Network).

In particular, I have greatly enjoyed being involved with Access Social Care, one of our pro bono partners, which provides free legal advice to people with social care needs. As part of this, I have been required to research certain laws to enable vulnerable people to live safe, independent and fulfilling lives. I was also given the great responsibility of organising trainee-led training in one of my seats - organising presentations by 15 different trainees and myself, to be given to the whole group, was a mammoth exercise but helped me to develop my leadership skills.

I have also recently joined the ‘Staying Connected’ committee, where I help give feedback on how to ensure trainees feel ‘connected’ to the firm as we gear up towards returning to the office.

What has been the best part of your training contract so far?

The firm has provided great support to trainees during the pandemic, including HR keeping in regular contact with trainees during this time, especially trainees like me who have not seen our families for close to two years due to border restrictions.

To me, one of the best parts of our training contract is that many partners in the firm are assigned trainees (which is not always common) - having had partners as supervisors has been an amazing experience.

Find out more

Find out what Slaughter and May have to offer.
Learn more about the role of a solicitor.