Name: Emma Lloyd-Jones
Firm: Slaughter and May
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian)
Hobbies: Sewing, yoga, travel, learning new languages
Current department: On client secondment
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 2/2
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
During my year abroad in Madrid, I worked as a legal assistant in the Spanish office of a magic circle firm. I initially saw the job as an opportunity to improve my language skills in a professional environment, but I ended up really enjoying the work and the challenge of making sense of complex transactions with minimal legal knowledge. I submitted my training contract applications as soon as I got back to London.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Researching firms and completing application forms while living in Spain, holding down a full time job and writing my third year dissertation. I decided to take a streamlined approach, only applying for a small number of training contracts. It paid off, as I was able to focus on the applications I made while keeping up with my other commitments.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I was asked how my degree course differed from the literature lessons a Spanish secondary school student would reluctantly attend. I gave what must have been a convincing answer about transferrable skills and the value of learning foreign languages. I have to say I felt vindicated when an email was sent to all trainees at the firm in my first few weeks on the job asking for urgent translation assistance from a Spanish speaker…
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I am currently on secondment to the in-house legal department of one of the firm’s key clients. My team is always busy working on a wide variety of matters, from large-scale acquisitions and disposals to day-to-day operational and business development work. So far I have assisted with due diligence for a potential acquisition and drafted and negotiated various agreements in close collaboration with colleagues from other areas of the business.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I enjoy working with and learning from incredibly talented and knowledgeable colleagues. The variety is also a really stimulating aspect of the job. Over the past 18 months I have worked on a range of transactions and disputes across three departments of the firm. I am now experiencing a completely different working environment, while gaining a first-hand understanding of a client’s objectives, concerns and priorities.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The level of responsibility available to trainees who are willing to take it on and the sense of humour brought to the job by colleagues (which comes in handy when you’re working late on a Friday night!).
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
A message from an internal client in another business area, asking me to review a mark-up of an agreement we have received from the other side and advise on the implications of some of the proposed amendments.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The staff restaurant or the coffee stations (“pods”, as we call them).
Describe your team in three words.
Busy, dedicated, resourceful.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I once starred in a McDonalds advert
- I am fluent in Welsh
- I have eaten live octopus sashimi
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have joined the Diplomatic Service. I came close (even completing internships at the Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Madrid), but ultimately I thought the law would suit me better. I’m pleased to say I made the right choice!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Research is key. Read up on current legal issues, understand how law firms operate and make the most of open days and university law fairs. If you have the chance to take part in a vacation scheme, be enthusiastic, ask questions and observe what’s going on around you. Don’t forget that vacation schemes work both ways – as well as the firm getting a sense of who you are, they are a great opportunity for you to assess whether the firm and its work are right for you.