Name: Anita Basi
Firm: DLA Piper
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law and Business Studies
University: University of Warwick
Hobbies: Travelling, cooking, going to gigs
Current department: Finance and Projects
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 4/3 (including vacation scheme applications)
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
It was only during the second year of my degree that I firmly decided to pursue a career as a solicitor. I studied business management, accountancy and financial management in my first year and felt that none of these disciplines were really for me – I was more tempted by the varied workload that corporate law offered, and opportunities to problem-solve for clients from a wide range of business sectors.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
For me, the initial challenge was deciding whether I wanted to apply to law firms based in the City or to regional firms. Once I had settled upon working in the Midlands, the biggest challenge was understanding the cultures of different firms, and finding ways to set myself apart from other candidates.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
What’s your favourite film? It’s a difficult question to answer at the best of times (I do wish I’d said something a bit cooler than Notting Hill though…)
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
We work on a range of leveraged, real estate and asset based finance deals, acting on both lender and borrower sides. The types of matters we deal with are diverse, and so far I’ve been involved with new borrowing, amendments and restatements of existing facilities agreements, security reviews and assisted with financial aspects of large corporate transactions.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I’ve had a number of opportunities to run my own matters, and having that level of responsibility can be really enjoyable – especially when you are able to take it through to completion!
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I wasn’t expecting to have as much client contact as I have had, especially during my first seat. In actuality it was very much the opposite, with client meetings starting in my first week on the job. When I was three months into my training contract, I was asked to base myself at a client’s offices for a period of time, which meant living out of a suitcase in London for a little while. I found the prospect quite daunting at first since I didn’t have a supervisor next to me to throw questions at, but it was a great chance to build up my own client relationship and a fantastic experience to build upon.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email from the graduate recruitment team confirming who my supervisor will be while I’m out on secondment in Hong Kong.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The second floor coffee shop and the water cooler.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Empathetic, approachable, incisive.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I can balance a spoon on the end of my nose
- I have had my artwork exhibited in a gallery
- I was once trapped in a lift for 40 minutes
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Improving my language skills and becoming a tour guide (maybe in Berlin?) was very tempting…
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
My first bit of advice would be try and get some practical experience of the sort of law you’re interested in practising, be it through open days, vacation schemes or other placements. Experience shouldn’t just be for your applications – try to get an understanding of the realities of what your day-to-day job will involve so that you can be sure that you’re signing up for a profession that you will actually enjoy.
Once you’ve passed that hurdle – get as much experience as you can doing anything that you can get involved in! Don’t feel that this necessarily needs to be legal work experience. Commercial experience can be just as useful and could give you the edge over another candidate, and you can pick up readily transferable skills through lots of other activities.