Case study

Sara Kachwalla — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Slaughter and May

Sara studied land economy at university before deciding to pursue a career in law. She’s now a trainee at Slaughter and May.

Why did you apply to Slaughter and May?

I read Land Economy at university and my interest in the legal side of the course prompted me to consider a career in law. I was drawn to Slaughter and May after attending an event where I was able to engage with alumni about their experience at the firm. I remember being struck by their warmth and sincerity, and the evening also helped to flesh out what the firm's distinctive traits - such as its multi specialist approach and non-billable hours - meant in practice.
It was only really after I started my training contract that I truly appreciated the difference multi-specialism makes to a budding lawyer's growth and development. The ability to work on a range of matters across a department rather than being pigeon holed, especially during the early stages of your career, is really invaluable.

How did you find the application process?

I found the process straightforward yet rigorous, particularly in comparison to the other firms I was applying to at the same time.
I was invited to an interview with two partners after submitting my CV and a short cover letter. In the interview, I was first asked some questions about my academics, extra-curricular activities and why I was interested in pursuing commercial law before we discussed an article exploring whether social media should be regulated. I could sense the partners were not only trying to draw out my opinions on a variety of issues, but also trying to test the logic and strength of my arguments. The spontaneity of the interview was refreshing, and I came away feeling stimulated, finding the process efficient yet strikingly thoughtful. I felt that the partners had been genuinely interested in who I was and what I had to say, and that made the offer I received all the more meaningful.

What are typical trainee tasks?

I am currently in my second seat in the firm's corporate department and typical trainee tasks vary considerably depending on the week at hand. My tasks have involved researching legal updates to advise a client on its annual corporate governance matters, searching for answers to more nebulous areas of the law, drafting documents and reviewing contracts to raise potential issues to a client. I also regularly attend training sessions and carve out time every week to work on a pro bono project aimed at helping a community centre based in Islington increase its revenue and social media presence.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Definitely the people. I have learnt so much from everyone at the firm and feel lucky to be surrounded by so many interesting and intelligent individuals who are always so genuinely willing to help. It's those late night laughs and that feeling of camaraderie, even when things are really busy, that remind me why I chose the firm.

What has been your most memorable experience so far during your training contract?

My most memorable experience so far has been attending a three-hour meeting with a very high profile client accompanied only by the main partner on the matter. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the strategy that should be adopted to address a tricky juncture in the matter - I was therefore quite mortified when the client asked me for my personal opinion on some very complicated issues (the case at hand is set to determine EU law). The partner, giving me a knowing yet encouraging smile, leaned back as I quickly tried to gather my thoughts (apparently they weren't all that foolish as I am still here to tell the tale). I was only in my first seat at the time and so that direct client contact and insight into the kinds of complex and nuanced discussions that take place at such a senior level was great exposure.