Name: Alastair Edmondson
Position: Trainee solicitor
Hobbies: Film/TV and Sport
Current department: Financial Services Regulatory
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 20/6
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I enjoy solving problems and I knew I wanted to work in the commercial space. But I could not identify my preferred point of entry. I felt that a training contract at a commercial firm would provide a platform to understand what makes businesses tick without being constrained by a particular industry or sector.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Overcoming preconceptions of what law firms wanted to hear and developing my own understanding of what I could offer a law firm as a trainee. I overcame this challenge through working as a paralegal and doing vacation schemes to learn about the realities of the job.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
What literary character do you most identify with and why? I was reading Bleak House at the time so I said Richard Carstone, a young man who decides to be a lawyer at the beginning of the book. I likened my struggle with the training contract applications to the character’s frustration with Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the Chancery case that consumes his life and goes on for years.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
Financial Services Regulatory can be split into advisory, investigatory and transactional work. Advisory involves helping clients mitigate their regulatory risk. A typical example would involve assisting a bank in drafting a loan contract to ensure that it complies with consumer credit legislation.
Investigatory involves looking retrospectively into regulatory issue to assess and report on the extent of any damage done. It also looks prospectively to help clients implement systems and controls to prevent avoid problems arising in the future. Transactional work involves advising on the regulatory aspect of a deal.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Facing new challenges and the support of my team. This sounds horribly cliché but even a seemingly similar task/piece of work will inevitably throw up an issue that did not arise previously. This would be a daunting prospect if not for the more experienced members of the team and their willingness to point me in the right direction.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I did not expect to be on a flight with my supervisor to the Arab Emirates with twenty four hours notice to assist a client after six weeks on the job.
On a less glamorous note I was surprised by how much scope there is shape your own training contract at TLT. The firm offers prescribed seat choices but trainees are consistently encouraged to actively pursue a seat in departments that interest us even if there is not a seat initially offered.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
One of the partners in my team to a client attaching a piece of advice. I was cc’d because I assisted in producing the advice by researching a few points of law.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The office floor – open plan means open atmosphere.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Tenacious, caring and IT-phobic.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I played football for Gillingham until I was 16.
- I had a pedicure earlier this week.
- I have a debilitating fear of electric shocks.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Pursue the actual career rather than the idea you get from recruitment literature, open days and conversations with people in law. These are useful tools to gain access to the industry but you will not know if it is the right path for you until you have worked in a legal environment. Vacation schemes and paralegal experience are invaluable when making the decision of whether or not to pursue a career in law.