David Williams, Gateley

David Williams

Name: David Williams

Firm: Gateley

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: History

University: University of York

Hobbies: music; art and architecture; spending time in the great outdoors; anything to do with history

Current department: Real estate

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 5 applications, 2 interviews.

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I have always enjoyed research, solving problems, and working hard to achieve an end goal. These are key aspects of what it is to be a solicitor.  I soon realised that the skills I was using in my degree studies (essay writing, presenting, researching, analysing documents, forming a logical argument) were perfectly suited to a career as a solicitor.

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

Trying to show enough of my personality in a high-pressure situation like an interview or assessment day. It is very easy to get caught up in trying to impress and say the right things, but it is also important to show the assessors who you are and what you’re about.

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

I was asked how I would go about setting up a new office in Brazil. I did my best to fudge my way around the question but the interviewers were having none of it!

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

We do a wide variety of work for institutional investors, banks and businesses across the country.  We deal with anything from hotels to warehouses, residential developments to shopping centres. There is also a specialist property litigation team. I’m currently sitting within the Real Estate (Finance) unit, where we are instructed by funders to look into property portfolios which they are funding or taking security over.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Talking to people, whether they be clients, solicitors acting for the other side on a transaction, colleagues, or other professionals.  You get to know a lot of people and can build up rapports very quickly, even as a trainee.

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

I didn’t expect to be involved in so many transactions at once.  If you do good work for one member of the department, others get wind of it and want to put you to good use on their jobs too!

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

It’s an email from an insurance broker, providing a quote for one of the properties I’m dealing with on a conveyancing job.

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

Definitely the kitchen.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Friendly, hard-working, committed.

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

  • I’ve presented my own breakfast show on the radio.
  • I’ve eaten scorpions on three different continents.
  • I can speak Latin.

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

I would probably have tried to do something with my first degree – maybe a lecturer in medieval history?

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

Take advantage the extra-curricular opportunities that you have at university. Although your academic record is important, it is good to have something interesting to talk about in an interview so that you stand out.