Name: Amy Harding
Firm: Hogan Lovells
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law LLB
University: University of Birmingham
Hobbies: Music, fitness and food
Current department: Financial services litigation
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: Fewer than 10
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
From an early secondary school I had been interested in a career in law but it wasn’t until I started studying law at university that I realised how broad the area was. After hours of online research and attendance at various careers events, I knew that I wanted to be a solicitor in the City. I wanted a job that was stimulating and different every day – the idea of going to work and doing the same thing for years is a nightmare to me!
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Differentiating firms from their websites – it can be difficult to see how City firms differ until you speak to the people at the firm and get involved. Training contracts are competitive so I think that knowing the firm you are applying as much as possible really helps.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I faced some challenging commercial awareness questions in an interview but nothing to taxing (especially compared to some horror stories I’ve been told!). Luckily I was prepared for this (well, as prepared as you can ever be for an interview) and had done a lot of research on the firm’s core practice areas which I managed to link into my answer. I’d really recommend reading “All you need to know about the City” and “All you need to know about Commercial Awareness”, by Christopher Stokes for interview prep!
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
My current department is financial services litigation (effectively banking litigation). The main focus of the group is on financial services dispute work and contentious regulatory disputes and investigations. We have a variety of clients including investment banks and funds, and commercial and retail banks from across the world.
Since starting I have been lucky enough to have exposure to both financial services disputes work, such as applying for an urgent freezing injunction, and be the trainee on a regulatory investigation. The work is very intellectually stimulating as it is often very technical but luckily the senior lawyers are experts in the field so are always able and willing to answer my (often basic!) questions.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I love that I’m constantly being challenged and learning new things. There is never a dull moment in litigation and I love getting involved with strategic discussions. I think I enjoy my job so much due to the people I work with – this is especially important as we often have to spend a lot of time together.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t expect to feel part of the team so quickly – everyone is really inclusive and it’s always sad to leave a team at the end of your seat. And the amount of emails that you receive, even as a trainee!
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email from an associate in another team who I am working with on a pro bono matter asking me to arrange a meeting with the client. Pro bono is a great way to take on more responsibility, have more client contact and work with people from other teams of the firm.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Either the trainee table in the canteen or the pub on a Friday evening.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Supportive. Knowledgeable. Driven.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I’m a pretty decent tap dancer
- I recently participated in Hogan Lovells’ Legally Ballroom
- My first job was as an elf at Santa’s grotto
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I haven’t given this much thought as I was pretty set on being a solicitor since about the age of 16. Maybe a food critic: that would be the dream!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Get as much work experience as you can, don’t be afraid to ask someone for their business card, and be enthusiastic at all times.