Shanuk studied law at undergraduate level and after developing an interest in business decided that commercial law was the route for him. He’s now a trainee solicitor at Slaughter and May
Why did you apply to Slaughter and May?
I enjoyed studying Law at university but sought a career that would allow me to use the skills I had gained in a practical setting, and which combined legal work with the interest in business I had developed over time - commercial law was the perfect fit.
At university I had the opportunity to meet Slaughter and May lawyers at recruitment events, and was impressed by their collegiate approach to success and passion for their work. The calibre of the work, given the firm’s position as advisor to numerous prestigious clients, was also highly appealing.
How did you find the application process?
The process was, as you would expect, rigorous, but not confusing or complicated. I sent in my CV along with a cover letter, setting out my reasons for applying to the firm, and was invited to interview a few weeks later. The interview itself was a great experience. The partners sought my views on a variety of issues and we debated a range of topics over the course of an hour.
What is the role of a trainee at a commercial law firm?
As a trainee, your role is two-fold - you need to support your supervisor and the teams which you are part of to the best of your ability and while doing this you will be developing professionally at a fast pace, getting yourself in a position to qualify as a solicitor at the end of the two-year training contract.
What are typical trainee tasks?
These vary from day-to-day. One day might be spent researching a particular point of law and writing up your findings for your supervisor, so that they are well-informed on the relevant issues when dealing with a client. At other times, you might be reviewing key contracts so that pertinent issues can be raised with clients, drafting documents needed for a transaction to proceed or taking notes of calls. I have found that you really do learn on the job, and the work you do as a trainee allows you to rapidly develop your skillset.
Do you feel well supported in your role?
Definitely, and such support from other trainees, associates and partners has been particularly important during a long period of remote working during Covid-19. When setting tasks, associates and partners have been careful to call me and explain exactly what it is they want done, to make sure that the task is correctly completed and I get an opportunity to ask questions and learn. There have also been virtual ‘pod calls’, seeking to replicate some of the interactions we would previously have had in the office, where a group of people from all levels and parts of the firm have a weekly catch-up and trainees get to meet people they would not otherwise have met. Slaughter and May’s open-door policy in the office has been carried across to working from home. I have always been comfortable calling an associate or partner I have been working for to ask for extra guidance when needed.
What has been your most memorable experience while working at Slaughter and May?
My most memorable experience was probably also my most nerve-wracking. I had prepared the research for my supervisor to use when speaking with a client. Just 15 minutes before the call, my supervisor emailed to say he had a clash and asked that I speak with the client, which I then did. It may sound a little surprising, but I am delighted to have had that experience, which shows the level of responsibility that Slaughter and May is keen to give trainees, and provided a fantastic opportunity to develop professionally and gain a small insight into the work of qualified lawyers.