Case study

Sid Sachdeva — Trainee solicitor

Travers Smith

Sid is a second seat trainee in the funds team at Travers Smith. He completed an MSc in Law and Finance at the University of Oxford and in order to cross over into qualifying as an English solicitor, he completed the Law Conversion Modules Route and the LPC at BPP

Why did you decide on a career in law?

I have always been curious to study different subjects. My decision to study law was driven by a hypothesis that it cuts across politics, philosophy, economics, sociology etc., which would make for interesting learning. The same hypothesis holds true for legal practice as well. Legal practice does not operate in a vacuum and the fact that my work requires engagement with events across disciplines is a huge draw for me.

What attracted you to the firm?

Engagement with Travers Smith professionals during my vacation scheme presented an insight into the firm's distinctive culture. Every individual (irrespective of their job function) was friendly, humble, and supportive. The firm truly values its employees and places them at the heart of its strategy.

What was the application process like?

For a place on the vacation scheme, you apply with a CV and cover letter. If shortlisted, you must complete an hour-long interview with a graduate recruitment partner or senior counsel. The interview is an extremely engaging conversation where the interviewer wants to get to know the candidate and pose debatable questions to assess how the candidate formulates and defends arguments.

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

I get into work at 9:30am and start with a morning chat with the members of my room. I check through emails, action urgent tasks and plan my to-do list. Appointments during the day may involve a mix of client meetings, internal team meetings, and training sessions. In the funds team, there is usually about five to six hours of client work every day. The firm's café (Braithwaite's) serves excellent food and is a much-frequented spot for coffee chats with colleagues or to get a sugar fix.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

The opportunity to take ownership of a client's problem and formulate possible solutions. As long as you are willing to get stuck in, senior lawyers at the firm are keen to provide increased responsibility to proactively action deliverables and engage with clients.

What are the challenges?

I believe the element of constant change within a training contract can be quite challenging. Once you reach the five-month mark in a seat, you have foundational knowledge of the area and established working relationships within a team. However, this faces a reset when you rotate into a new seat.

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

One of the common myths is that working at a top City firm skews work-life balance and leaves little time for important aspects of life such as health or having social engagements. There are periods when the hours can be long and intense but, on average, I am able to schedule evening plans and gym appointments over the week, and maintain a sustainable approach to work.

What are your career ambitions?

I hope to be a well-rounded lawyer - someone who is self-assured, commercially-minded, and technically sound. I aim to qualify into one of the asset management practices at Travers and grow within the firm. The firm has a very strong offering in the area, which serves an impressive client roster.

Why should future trainees consider applying to the firm?

Travers Smith's offering is a rare combination of a market-leading legal practice with a remarkably collegiate culture. The blend is ideal for trainees looking to gain exposure to high quality work, with support from experienced practitioners who place a considerable premium on mentorship and culture.