Case study

Manasa Shanker — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Travers Smith
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Manasa completed a two-year accelerated law degree at the University of Buckingham, followed by the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP Leeds before becoming a trainee solicitor at Travers Smith

How did you get your job?

Having decided that I wanted to be a solicitor I found that there were a whole host of further decisions I needed to make.

For example, did I want to practise private client law and deal with individuals, or corporate law, and deal with companies? Did I want to do contentious law, which is essentially conflict resolution, or transactional law, which is assisting companies or individuals in executing their plans within the confines of the law?

I found not just these choices, but also the entire world of lawyers, quite intimidating. So, my first step was to secure a job as a paralegal, and with this experience I grew my knowledge and my confidence. When I felt I was ready, I applied for and secured a training contract at Travers Smith.

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

A training contract lasts for two years, and during that time you spend six months in four different departments, so really it’s like having four mini jobs one after the other. Days range from working on large corporate acquisitions, which includes managing a number of documents as part of the due diligence process, attending calls with clients and assisting with reviewing contracts, to working on the beginning stages of a case, which involves a deep dive forensic investigation into the matters alleged against a company, attending strategy meetings with barristers and interviewing witnesses.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The intellectual challenge, there is always more to learn. A lawyer's job covers so many sectors, so while you can become better at learning things quickly, it's simply not possible to know all there is to know. Therefore, for the entirety of your career, you are expanding your knowledge.

What are the challenges?

It takes me a while to get comfortable in a new situation and be able to be myself, and as a trainee solicitor you are constantly in new situations and working with new people. Thankfully I work at a firm that works hard to ensure a nourishing environment for juniors.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Law is one of those careers where I would say your degree (or a law conversion course) is very relevant to your future career. You learn all the basics of how the law operates, which I think really sets you up to become a competent lawyer.

How has your role developed?

My role as a trainee solicitor is fixed for a period of two years, after which I will apply for a role as a qualified solicitor in one of the four departments that I will have trained in. It's quite hard to stagnate in a career as a solicitor, as every year you become more qualified and experienced.

As the years progress, my role will start to include project management, client business development and mentoring junior colleagues, all of which I'm very much looking forward to.

How do I become a solicitor?

Study hard, law is a highly competitive career and high grades are necessary.

Choose it for the right reasons, I think to really be good at something, it needs to provide give you with personal satisfaction. The internet is a goldmine. If you're reading this, then you're already on your research journey.

Also, do all you can to secure some legal work experience.

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