Name: Christian Slinger
Firm: Walker Morris
Degree: Law LLB with Australian Law
University: University of Leeds
Hobbies: All kinds of sport, music, theatre and travelling.
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 5/2
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
My dad is a retired policeman so law has always been something that I have been interested in since a young age. I found that many of the strengths I had seemed to go hand in hand with a legal career; namely, analysis, critical thinking, writing and problem solving.
I had an amazing time at university and the natural progression from a law degree seemed to be to try to obtain a training contract. This path was confirmed while I was studying in Australia in my third year where I managed to obtain some work experience at a major international law firm in Hong Kong.
Having enjoyed the experience in Hong Kong so much, the decision then came as to whether to try to practice as in the UK or abroad. While a career aboard would be great fun and a good opportunity to travel all over the world, I eventually decided that what I really wanted was to try and work in the sports industry. With my best cricketing days way behind me, a sports lawyer seemed to be the next best thing!
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
The sheer number of people trying to obtain training contracts is probably the biggest challenge I faced. Everyone I spoke to seemed to have excellent academic grades from top universities all over the world.
The difficulty was then how to try and differentiate myself from the rest of the applicants. Fortunately, I had some really good experiences and extra-curriculum activities I could use to try to do this, including taking part in a world challenge in Bolivia and living and studying in Australia for a year.
These two experiences also provided me with good talking points during my interviews. My advice would therefore be to try and take part in some unique or unusual activities so that you can talk about something other than law in your interview, surely anything is better than that…
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
Being relatively new to how law firms worked I was not 100 per cent sure what role managing partners fulfilled. I talked about my leadership qualities and my ability to handle difficult situations which seemed to go down well. Although, my suggestion that all employees of the firm should receive a share of the profits did not appear to sit too well with one of the finance partners interviewing me.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
The sports department at Walker Morris handles a mix of contentious and non-contentious work for a broad range of regional, national and international clients.
On any one day I might be drafting a share purchase agreement in relation to the purchase or sale of a Premier League football club, handling a dispute relating to breach of the financial fair play regulations or suing a vet for negligent care of an Olympic show-jumping horse.
This variety, along with the fact that the sports legal sector itself is a very fast paced and changeable area, ensures that no two days in the office are the same.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The most enjoyable part for me is being involved sport and the fact that I get to find out all sorts of information I would not otherwise be privy to. The only problem is that I can never speak to anyone about any of it.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t expect the level of responsibility I have been given so early on in my career. I have had opportunities to get involved in some key stages of matters from drafting agreements to negotiating parts of deals with the solicitors on the other side. Whilst I feel I have been provided with all the support I need, handling some of this work on your own can be a daunting prospect sometimes.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email about the firm’s mixed 5-a-side tournament which takes place every Wednesday from September to December each year. I help organise this firm-wide event where each floor puts together a team to compete against the other floors to claim the coveted WM Mixed 5-a-side Champions Trophy (the name requires a little work).
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The Atlas Pub, our firm’s local, or by speaking to the secretaries – they know everything!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Friendly, professional, approachable.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I have been to Walt Disney World in Florida seventeen times.
- I was cast in the West End production of Les Miserables for six months.
- I represented my county (Lancashire) at four different sports.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Either cricket coach or sports journalist.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
It is very important to have something unique about yourself, whether that is a hobby you enjoy or an experience you have had. Aside from that, it is important to keep up to date with the news in general, particularly news relating to the economy, and to ensure that you research the firm you are applying for thoroughly so that you can demonstrate you are the person they are looking for.
Likewise, it is important to research the firm to be sure that this is somewhere you want to work as you will be spending a lot of hours there.