Name: Ira Kozlova
Firm: White & Case
Position: Trainee solicitor (second seat)
University: University of Cambridge
Hobbies: Surfing, travelling, skiing
Current department: Private equity
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 4/6
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I was able to do a three-month internship in New York before attending University which sparked my interest in commercial law.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Juggling finals with training contract applications and squeezing in as many vacation schemes as I could in a short period of time. Due to the limited applications time frame, my approach was to apply to fewer firms but make sure I researched these in detail. It ensured I picked firms in which I was genuinely interested and tailored my applications.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
For an interview at the end of one vacation scheme, we were told not to worry about showing commercial awareness. My interview focused on the first Greek debt crisis and I was embarrassingly unprepared for it.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I’m in the private equity group at White & Case in London, which is divided into deal and portfolio teams. I’ve done mostly sponsor-side deal work on transactions in sectors including tech and pharma. Tasks have included drafting ancillary documents such as board minutes, assisting with process such as KYC and documents checklist, instructing local counsel, reviewing target company documents during an acquisition, drafting due diligence reports, assisting with signings and marking up/negotiating non-disclosure agreements.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Getting to know, and learning from, a variety of people from diverse backgrounds who are excellent at what they do. Being part of a terrific team is very motivating even when carrying out the basic, day-to-day tasks you expect as a trainee. I also enjoy experiences like closing dinners, attending client events overseas and practice retreats.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
International travel as a trainee for a deal in Denmark.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An announcement of the closing of a deal I’ve recently worked on.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Taylor Street Baristas, near the office, where you’re sure to bump into someone you know!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Direct, witty and wise.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I once hitch hiked from Cambridge to Poland.
- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova from Pussy Riot is my cousin
- I’ve taken three gap years.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have probably done a PhD in History of Art and gone into curating or working for an auction house.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Make sure to apply the skills you advertise to potential employers by making sure your applications are polished. Show social skills by extending your network and let your personality shine during interviews.