Alex White, Mayer Brown

Name: Alex White

Firm: Mayer Brown

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: History

University: University of York

Hobbies: Sailing, sports, music, gardening, farming.

Current department: Finance

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 10/5

Alex White, Mayer Brown

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I was always interested in the legal profession as a result of my father being a barrister. However it was not until I undertook legal work experience that I became interested in training as a solicitor.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

As a non-law undergraduate (I studied history), with limited information of what was required to get a training contract, I was quite naive in realising how competitive the training contract application process is.

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

What are the commercial benefits of investing in feed wheat (for animal consumption) over mill wheat (for human consumption)? I won’t bore you with the answer. However, what I would say is make sure that you know your CV back-to-front as you will be surprised at the depth interviewers want to go into. I briefly mentioned that my family farmed and this is what I was asked!

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

The finance department handles a wide array of work. There are a number of subdivisions within the department including derivatives, project finance, securitisation and real estate finance.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

As finance is a transactional seat the most rewarding aspect is the successful completion of a deal.

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

The amount of training that we receive at the firm. Training doesn’t end at law school. The firm runs a vast number of training sessions aimed at further educating trainees as well as associates. I am two months in and I have had in excess of 20 training sessions, each providing useful skills directly transferable to the workplace.

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

Myself: to remind me of some ideas that I thought of while out of the office for a project that I am working on.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

The canteen. Most of the trainees meet up for lunch each day.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Intelligent, hardworking and honest.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I play the cello
  • I had the biggest cow in the world
  • I enjoy playing rugby

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

Perhaps a career in finance. Alternatively, I would have become a farmer. However the ultimate dream job would have been to become a professional sportsman.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

Make sure that your academics match your enthusiasm for joining the profession. Every year at university counts, even first year!