Case study

Khadar Jama — Trainee solicitor

Slaughter and May

Khadar studied Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. He now works as a trainee solicitor at Slaughter and May

How did you get your job?

I wanted to pursue a career where I could apply the critical analysis and understanding of current affairs I enjoyed applying at undergraduate level. I applied for a work experience scheme at Slaughter and May for a number of reasons, not least because of its impressive client base, many of who are reputable and market-leading household names, but also because of its prestige and reputation for providing exceptional client-focused legal services.

After sending in my CV and cover letter, I was invited for an interview. A partner and an associate interviewed me. The interview revolved around my CV and a discussion of a current affairs news article I read before the interview. It felt like the interview was a genuine attempt to get to know me as a person and candidate

The three-week summer work experience scheme was an opportunity for me to get to know the firm better and I was truly impressed by how warm, welcoming and friendly everyone was. I knew I wanted to work at a firm that not only advised on important matters, but was also quite collegiate in nature and Slaughter and May certainly ticked all those boxes for me.

After the scheme I had the opportunity to interview for a training contract - the process was similar to that of the scheme where I was given time to read a current affairs news article. Prior to that candidates are asked to complete a written exercise, which involves preparing a short memorandum of advice to a fictional client. Two partners did my training contract interview and what truly impressed me was the fact that the senior partner had interviewed the junior partner for a training contract several years ago, which highlighted the importance the firm placed on retaining and developing its trainees.

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

Some days I may spend time updating a prospectus for a debt issuance programme and drafting a range of documents. Other days I might attend a signing at a client’s office and have the opportunity to participate in calls with overseas counsel. The one consistent factor is that trainees are given a great level of responsibility early on and have a great support network to rely on if needed.

I also take part in a number of training sessions. These can be specific to the seat I am currently in or can be tailored towards personal development.

The firm really encourages extra-curricular activities outside of work and there are a number of clubs and initiatives you can get involved with. A number of my friends play for the firm’s hockey and football teams and regularly compete against other City firms. We’re also encouraged to give back and take part in one of the many great pro-bono and community initiatives, like tutoring and mentoring students from a local inner-city comprehensive school.

How has your role developed?

Over the course of my training contract I’ve routinely been able to liaise with clients on a range of points, participate in calls with overseas counsel, undertaking the first draft of some transaction documents and managing the ancillary aspects of a transaction.

Colleagues at the firm couldn’t be more supportive and always make the time to answer any questions I may have or provide guidance where I need it regardless of how busy they are. The open door policy at Slaughter and May has really been an excellent support network, which has allowed me to feel a lot more confident about taking the plunge into more difficult tasks that I might not be familiar with.

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