Ariane Taddayon, SA Law

Trainee Ariane Taddayon tells trainees to remember to have a sense of humour and to not get too stressed

Name: Ariane Tadayyon

Firm: SA Law

Position: First year trainee solicitor (second seat)

Degree: English Law and French Law LLB

Universities: University of Manchester, Université de Bourgogne (Erasmus), BPP Law School

GDL or LPC: LPC (part-time)

Hobbies: Travelling, literature, current affairs, languages, live music

Department: Commercial litigation and dispute resolution

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

The fact that law permeates daily life, combined with the intellectual challenges, networking opportunities and career progression that training as a solicitor offers all appeal to me.

Why did you choose your firm?

I worked for about three years before starting my training contract so I sought a firm with a small trainee intake which offered the opportunity of early responsibility so that I could get “stuck in”. The firm also has a strong reputation in Hertfordshire and I was attracted to its progressive business development and marketing strategies.

What has been the highlight of your training contract so far?

I am currently assisting a partner with a complex case in relation to a foreign property investment. We are acting for one of the defendants who is based abroad, and had to work to a very tight 4pm deadline to get the defence served on the court, five other defendants and the claimant. I was liaising with our client until about 3.30pm to get the documents finalised and approved, which was very stressful, but got there in the end with about five minutes to spare (thanks also to the great efforts of our secretary).

What does your typical day involve?

I generally write a daily “to-do-list” in order of priority to provide some structure to my day and try to work from that. Having said that, there are always things that come up during the day. I normally arrive in the office at 8.30am, answer emails, ask my supervisor if there is anything she needs assistance with and then set about my daily tasks.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by your department

Our client base varies from individuals and local businesses to international organisations so the department deals with an array of work. For instance, we offer a tailored debt recovery service for invoice debts, but also deal with difficult litigation matters, as well as alternative dispute resolution. We also have specialists in education law and intellectual property law.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The fact that no two days are the same; you are always kept on your toes, never bored and you are always learning new things!

What are the worst aspects of your job?

Having to wake up extra early once a week to help open and sort the DX! It is a trainee’s rite of passage in our firm but I have to say it helped me when I first joined, to learn everyone’s names and which department they work in. And it is also interesting to see what other work is going on in the firm. 

What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession?

That it’s all about law. Commercial awareness, networking, communication and marketing are just as important to promote yourself as a solicitor as well as promoting your firm’s services.

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

Be realistic. The number of individuals with strong qualifications and work experience far outweigh the number of training contracts on offer, and although some firms do sponsor their trainees, it can be an expensive career path to pursue. That said, don’t give up if you are confident that it is the right profession for you, and you have the right qualifications, experience and attitude.

What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career?

En masse generic applications without any research into the firm you are applying to. Firms make a significant investment in their trainees and they want to know candidates’ motivations not only for working in the legal profession but also for the firm itself.

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

Keeping motivated – the search can be demoralising but I found that seeking out alternative employment opportunities helped greatly with my personal and professional development. I was fortunate enough to undertake an internship at the European Commission and subsequently managed a team of five people in a publishing company in London, all while waiting for that elusive training contract. 

How is law in practice different from studying law?

The fact that it is so commercial. Clients are generally costs conscious (more so in the current climate) and so the commerciality of pursuing a dispute or seeing through a transaction is often at the forefront of their mind.

What are the common attributes of successful candidates?

Confidence that you can do the job, determination to succeed and a sense of humour; the work is stressful enough so you have to be able to laugh (though my fellow trainees may say that I take it too seriously!).