Name: Emily Griffiths
Position: Trainee solicitor (Combined Study Training Contract pilot scheme)
Degree: LLB Law (2-year Fast Track Law)
University: University of Gloucestershire
Hobbies: Sewing/up-cycling vintage finds, painting, reading and cycling
Current department: Tax
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 1/1
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
After finishing my first degree, I spent some time working at a small company that abruptly decided to let several of its staff go on the grounds of performance issues, and although I remained at the company, I got involved in helping colleagues who felt they had been unfairly terminated by looking into whether the termination had been lawful and/or whether they were entitled to some form of recourse. I found the process to be much more interesting than what I was doing at the time, so decided (almost a bit gung-ho) on a change of career to become a solicitor.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
The biggest challenge I faced in securing a training contract was getting around the traditional timeline that firms follow for applications because I was completing a two-year course instead of a full three-year course. Because training contract applications are usually made in the penultimate year, my two-year degree meant that I was making applications at the end of my first year and was only able to offer first year results. Luckily, Eversheds was incredibly flexible and not put off by this, instead they were very keen to find out more about the type of degree I was studying as it was in-line with the combined study training contract pilot scheme they were about to launch (and which I am currently coming to the end of!)
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
The Eversheds phone interview included a question about the base rate of the Bank of England and its effect on the firm and on a specific sector (e.g. retail, energy etc.). I was quite taken aback by it, so despite having managed to give a semi-coherent answer at the time (which probably included some vague ramblings about debt, borrowing and the economy generally), my memory of those few minutes is a bit of a black hole.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I am currently sat in the tax department of the London office. The type of work we typically carry out includes work relating to tax aspects of property and corporate/banking transactions, funds and employee share schemes. We also carry out a lot of tax structuring and VAT work for our clients. The work is incredibly varied, and definitely not limited to the above, so there is great scope for trainees to get involved in almost any type of tax work.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The people and culture and the opportunities that come with a firm the size of Eversheds. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I have completed my training contract in three different geographical locations; I began in Birmingham, then went to Singapore for six months and have spent my last six months in London. Every office has been equally friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere within Eversheds generally has surprised me in that it is professional but people at every level are always trying to help you improve or just have a laugh and cheer you up on a stressful day. It definitely also helps that there is a very strong trainee network so you are never at a loss to find people to socialise with, regardless of which office you find yourself in.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I started in banking and didn’t expect the level of responsibility you are given right off the bat; you aren’t treated as “on trial/in training” but rather as an independent member of the team who requires a bit more supervision than usual – exciting and terrifying! Speaking to clients in the first few weeks and attending completion meetings in the first seat were definitely not an expectation I had when I first joined.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
From a trainee asking a few trainees to confirm that we will be attending the Battersea Legal Clinic session on the upcoming Wednesday (this is part of the firm’s CSR activities).
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Describe your training partner in three words.
Seeks out potential.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I grew up abroad
- I auditioned for S-Club juniors
- I have never broken a bone
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
This implies some level of decision in choosing law in the first place! I’d like to have run a beach bar or surf school (essentially getting as close to beach bum as I think I could get!)
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
If you can, find a “mentor” – someone to proofread, give you honest feedback and help you stay positive and put set-backs into perspective. But most of all just persevere and be unreasonably positive!