John Adenitire, Mills & Reeve

Name: John Adenitire

Firm: Mills & Reeve

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law (LLB, MJur)

University: University of Birmingham, University of Durham

Hobbies: Salsa and related Afro-Latin dances, cello playing in orchestra, reading and writing, keeping fit

Current department: Insurance

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/4

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I only decided to become a solicitor at law school. I decided I would study law because it seemed it would be an intellectually challenging course and also a very marketable one. I was right about both things.

A lot of firms came into law school to talk about what they did and what kind of person they were looking for. The talks convinced me that becoming a solicitor would keep my brain continuously engaged by giving me the opportunity to provide solutions to my clients’ varied legal and commercial problems. After completing some work experience and vacation schemes I confirmed that qualifying as a solicitor would be what I would work towards.

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

Firms are interested in trainees who can think as business people. I knew that one of the ways to develop that mind frame was to keep up with current business developments. That proved quite challenging as I decided to read specialist finance and business press on a regular basis.

The first few weeks were very tough as I was not familiar with the jargon of the specialist press. With time it became easier to read and digest these sources and I was eventually able to talk about current financial stories with relative ease in interviews.

John Adenitire, Mills & Reeve
John Adenitire, Mills & Reeve

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

I was asked to comment on the very harsh judicial sentencing of those that had participated in the 2011 London riots. It was a relatively unforeseen question as I was expecting a more finance-related one. It was also a politically loaded question so I needed to ensure that, while not sitting on the fence, I did not turn the interview into a political debate.

I answered honestly and said that I thought the imposition of those overly harsh sentences were generally unwise as they provided a possible ground for appeal for people who had admitted their guilt.

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

I work in the insurance casualty team. We act for large corporations and their insurance companies to defend claims for personal injury and work-related diseases.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The people really make the difference. I have had some really supportive and well-humoured team members. This has a real positive impact when doing that trainee task that is taking just too long to complete.

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

That I would spend a whole day decorating boxes with images of Easter bunnies for a charity fundraiser.

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

An associate asking us trainees to apply for the committee positions of our award-winning Free Legal Advice Group.

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

The wonderful and subsidised canteen. It is not only really cheap and full of fantastic food and staff members; you can also let yourself go and talk about that lovely person in that other office who you would like to take out for a coffee.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Bright, personable and approachable.

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

I speak Yoruba, Italian and Mandarin.

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

Professional salsa dancer, cellist or philosophy professor.

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

Make sure you apply to firms where you think you will fit in culturally. Don’t let prospective salary or prestige of the firm be the most weighty consideration in picking firms. It feels fantastic working in a firm where you know you are valued for who you are.