Case study

Victoria Alvarez-Rendueles — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Travers Smith

Victoria studied history and English literature at Columbia University, New York. She’s now a trainee solicitor at Travers Smith

What conversion course did you study and where?

Following university, I moved back to London and did the GDL and LPC at BPP Law School.

Why did you decide on a career in law?

I'd tried a lot of different careers all through university but in the back of my mind I always had an idea that I would end up becoming a lawyer. I knew my strengths matched the skillset that lawyers needed and from the outside looking in it seemed like a challenging, fast-paced, ever evolving and motivating profession, something I knew I needed. I wasn't wrong.

What attracted you to the firm?

What I initially liked about Travers Smith was that it was unpretentious and grounded, something I picked up on both from its marketing, as well as its people. Going through the interview process and the vacation scheme, I found a firm that was brilliant but not boastful, proud but not conceited, and kind but not meek. I knew from the second week of my vacation scheme that I wanted to find a home at Travers and I was lucky enough to do so.

What was the application process like?

Pretty straightforward. I sent my CV and cover letter in for the vacation scheme and a few weeks later had an interview with a partner. A few days later they emailed saying I had a spot on the vacation scheme. From there, I got the training contract offer.

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

Someone might write that there is no typical day but as with any job there is a routine. On days where I don't have any pressing work or back-to-back meetings, I arrive at the office between 9-9.30am and check and reply to any emails. I always write out a to-do list in my notebook and get started on any 'due today' work as I prefer to get these out of the way in the morning.

After lunch (which is usually downstairs in the cafeteria) I turn to longer and less urgent tasks. I am currently in a tax seat and this might mean working on a fund review for a few hours or undertaking some research that I've been given.

I typically log off around 7pm (but again, this depends on the work and department you're in) and will then commute home. I check my phone for emails throughout the evening and if anything is urgent will log back on again to handle it.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I like getting stuck into things. Although not always the case for lawyers, and very dependent on work and department, there are many opportunities to take on longer project-based work where you can immerse yourself in the matter. I find that my best work comes out of this and I feel most ambitious and motivated as a lawyer when I have fully immersed myself in something and am giving it my all.

What are the challenges?

I think most of the challenges that arise in a training contract are tied to the fact that you've just started working and are still working out your style of work, how you manage your time, how you deal with working with and alongside others and how you give all you realistically can to the job without overdoing it.

My biggest personal struggle has been the constant changes that accompany the training contract and how for two years you are essentially expected to be flexible, available, willing and generally 'on' across the board and across very different types of work. It is the nature of a UK training contract but it is hard, especially nearer the end when you know what you like and want to do.

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

When I talk to my banker/finance/private equity friends they pity me because they all think that lawyers get the work. From what I've seen, that really isn't the case. Yes most lawyers take their work seriously and are very responsive to their clients but not usually at the expense of sleep.

What are your career ambitions?

I am still deciding. Right now, I'm keeping my options open, as well as my mind. Vaguely, to continuously grow as a person and a professional, wherever that may take me.

Why should future trainees consider applying to the firm?

Travers Smith is a great place to begin your career as a lawyer. The firm is encouraging, kind, impressive, hardworking, and above all progressive. It is a firm for the future.

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