Case study

George Fox — Trainee solicitor

Travers Smith

George is a third seat trainee sitting in the Funds' team at Travers Smith. He studied theology and international relations at the University of Exeter before completing the GDL and LPC at BPP

Why did you decide on a career in law?

Law appealed to me for a number of reasons, principally because it is a challenging, stimulating career that teaches invaluable skills. I was attracted to the breadth of knowledge lawyers are required to have, together with the analytical, communicative, organised and creative professionals lawyers are required to be. I was also attracted to the variation that comes with a career in law.

What attracted you to the firm?

I was attracted to Travers Smith by its reputation as a firm that does big work, but doesn't come with the traditional 'big law' working atmosphere. I felt on my vacation scheme that Travers values its junior employees and their career progression, giving responsibility and high quality work to them where possible.

What was the application process like?

The application process for Travers is refreshingly simple, there is no psychometric testing or assessment centers, only a cover letter and a vacation scheme interview with one of the graduate recruitment partners. The interview is tough and certainly puts you through your paces, but the partners are all very friendly and you feel like they're on your side.

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

My days are very varied but on average, I get to work at 9am and go down to Braithwaites for my morning coffee and yoghurt. I will look through my emails for ten minutes or so and then write out a to-do list for the day. In funds, there will usually be about five to six hours of client work per day, this may involve preparing fund formation documents, emailing clients or attending client calls with partners/associates.

Often there will be training sessions for us to attend in the day and general meetings/departmental functions once or twice a week. The office atmosphere is really sociable and you can be sure your day will be interjected with lots of chats with colleagues.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy the parts of my job where I'm given direct client exposure, Travers are very good at giving juniors client exposure and it's the best way to test your skills as a trainee. I really enjoy feeling like a valuable team member and it's satisfying when you're able to answer questions.

What are the challenges?

Being a trainee requires really excellent organisational skills, this is something that comes naturally to certain people and not so naturally to others. I wouldn't say I sit firmly in either camp but my organisation has had to improve throughout the course of my training contract. You are often managing multiple matters for a number of different associates/partners and staying on top of it all is certainly challenging.

There are a lot of stereotypes about working in law, can you debunk a myth?

There are a number of stereotypes that people fear when they enter city law firms, the most common being that you will be worked so hard you may never see your friends and family again. I can assure you that while I am required to work hard at times, I am able to maintain a healthy social life and my hours are monitored by seniors to ensure I'm not being overworked.

What are your career ambitions?

It's hard to look too far ahead as you never know where life might take you, but at the moment I'm really focusing on qualifying at Travers and building experience as an associate. There is so much to learn and while that is daunting, it's also hugely exciting. At Travers a large majority of the partners trained at the firm, there is a well-trodden path from traineeship to the top and that is highly motivating.

Why should future trainees consider applying to the firm?

Travers is a fantastic firm and a great place to work, it combines a high quality of work with a friendly and collegiate atmosphere and the training is second to none. I would highly recommend applying to Travers.

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