Krystal Jumbo, Ropes & Gray

Name: Krystal Jumbo

Firm: Ropes & Gray

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law LLB

University: Queen Mary, University of London

Hobbies: Food (making it or eating it), singing and fitness

Current department: Private equity real estate

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 30+ (terrible applications) 10 (decent ones)/4

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

At first, I wanted to be a barrister due to a combination of reruns of LA Law, Law & Order and my ability to talk my way out of trouble (as a child). However, after spending time in chambers at 15 and subsequently meeting people who were solicitors I realised that I was much better suited to the “other side”. Being a solicitor requires you to focus on solutions, you have to think through layered problems step-by-step, and apply technical knowledge to practical situations. I find the whole process inspiring, challenging and fulfilling.

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

The biggest challenges were rejection and differentiation. Year on year the competition to get a training contract gets fiercer, not only are people graduating with high 2:1’s and firsts, they have outstanding modular breakdowns and have done very interesting extra-curriculars that easily catapults them from application to interview. For example, there was a girl who, on her year out, had taught blind children to read Braille… how you compete with that?!

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

“Why?”. I know it sounds silly but at one of my interviews this particular partner wasn’t satisfied with my well prepared, balanced answers. For every response I gave him he asked why, repeatedly, until he was satisfied with my response. With hindsight I realise that he was interested in pushing me further in my interview, he wanted to see how I reacted under pressure and if I actually believed in the things I said to him. I think I did quite well as by the end of the interview I managed to make him laugh several times.

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

Most people think of a real estate seat as six months of searches, long ancient lease text and decent hours. At Ropes & Gray this really isn’t the case. My department advises on both direct and indirect real rstate transactions which can be anything from buying a portfolio of properties outright to selling or investing in a corporate structure. It is very much a corporate seat with a specialist property focus.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Learning new things. No two deals are exactly the same and every transaction comes with its own unique set of hurdles. Learning how to navitage through and over these hurdles is something I enjoy.

Krystal Jumbo, Ropes & Gray

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

The importance of time keeping and the knock-on effect it has on the whole firm. 

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

That would be giving away my source, a definite no-no.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Intelligent, fair and rapper.

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

  • I have a freakishly accurate sense of smell (I can tell you who recently left the room if I have spent enough time in their company).
  • I still hold my school record for fastest freestyle swimmer.
  • I am a massive foodie (as my last name suggests).

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

Engineer, I’m pretty good with my hands.

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

Patience and perseverance are critical. Every rejection or set back that happens is an opportunity to start afresh and improve what you have previously done. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Also, practical experience is invaluable as it will give you an opportunity to pick up new skills and to decide if this is a path that you will enjoy as a long term career.