Kimberley Mawdsley and Natalie Hager

BT Legal trainees Kimberley Mawdsley and Natalie Hager give an insight into life in-house

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Name: Kimberley Mawdsley / Natalie Hager

Firm: BT Legal

Position: Trainee Solicitor

Degree: Law

Universities: University of Cambridge / University of Nottingham

GDL or LPC: LPC

Hobbies: Reading, going to the gym and socialising.

Department/field: Commercial

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? We were both passionate about law and we were confident that a career as a solicitor would remain interesting and diverse. After studying law at college and university, we were eager to put everything we had learnt into practice.

Why did you choose to train in-house? We wanted to train in-house because it provides a unique opportunity to train as a lawyer whilst also gaining increased commercial awareness and unrivalled exposure to the legal operations of a large business.

What has been the highlight of your training contract so far? Without a doubt the highlight for us both has been reaching contract signature on a major deal after months of intense negotiations.

What does your typical day involve? Our typical day involves reviewing contracts, assessing risks to the company and relaying our comments back to the business.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the legal department at BT? BT Legal deals with very varied work covering everything from commercial to litigation law and employment to competition law.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? The most enjoyable aspects are being able to deal directly with clients on a daily basis and being relied on by the rest of the legal team to provide contributions of real significance to high-value deals.

What are the worst aspects of your job? Our company deals with some complex and technical products and services which have been challenging for us to understand when drafting contracts for these.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception of training in-house? We think the biggest misconception people have is that legal training in-house will be very narrow when in fact our training contract incorporates nearly every area of law.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in-house? In-house opportunities are quite rare, particularly for legal graduates. It is a career which requires both legal training and business acumen so any potential in-house lawyer needs to be able to demonstrate these skills.

What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? One of the biggest pitfalls students should avoid is failing to adequately prepare for interviews. Simple things such as researching the company or firm properly can make a big difference.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? The biggest challenge was knowing how to stand out on an application form when we both knew there would be hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other legal graduates applying with equal or better experience.

What are the common attributes of successful candidates? The key denominators for successful candidates are generally drive, dedication and an enthusiasm for both law and business.