Lucy Slater, Cleary Gottlieb

Name: Lucy Slater     

Firm: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 

Position: NQ solicitor

Degree: Law  

University: University of Warwick 

Hobbies: Yoga, ballroom dancing, painting and reading

Current department: Mergers and Acquisitions 

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 3/3 

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

Always a keen artist, at the age of 16 I read a book about the restitution of artwork stolen by Nazis during the Second World War. It fascinated me that the law could permeate all areas of life and culture and could help grant redress to those who had suffered such historically poignant losses. From that moment onwards, I knew I wanted to learn more about the law and, one day, practise it.

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

Finding the time to fully research and understand the culture and practice of the law firms I was interested in, before making applications to them.

Lucy Slater, Cleary Gottlieb
Lucy Slater, Cleary Gottlieb

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

One interviewer asked me the dreaded question; “who would be your ideal dinner guest (such person currently being dead or alive)?”. I think the answer must convey to an interviewer so much about a candidate personally that it terrified me to answer with anything but the typical and well-trodden historical icons like Winston Churchill. However, I thought that I should always be myself and answered truthfully – as a huge Harry Potter fan, J.K. Rowling!

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

Although I am sitting in mergers and acquisitions, Cleary is fantastic in that it is not generally “departmentalised”.  This means that, as a trainee, notwithstanding the fact you are in a specific seat, you can source work from a wide range of lawyers practising in many different areas if you so wish. However, if you do want to specialise in one area, that is also possible – Cleary has associates working primarily in one area such as competition, tax, funds and disputes. 

Those working in mergers and acquisitions at Cleary typically spend their time advising clients on large-scale headline grabbing acquisitions,  investments and divestments in PE joint ventures, and mergers.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I relish being asked a nuanced question and trying to find an answer to it.

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

How good-humoured colleagues would be – even on very late nights and weekends!

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

A colleague from the New York office has just sent me some research findings which will form part of a research memorandum we are working on for a pro-bono client.

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

Any of the various tea points around the office.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Practical, relaxed and considered.

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

  • I have the same work dress in 5 colours
  • I cannot get through the morning without a cup of tea
  • My favourite snack to get me through the afternoon slump is a pot of pineapple chunks. 

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

An artist, or academic.

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

Work experience is invaluable. Once you know you are interested in a career in law, try as hard as you can to get some work experience at a variety of law firms and if possible, different legal environments (for example, local council, government, or in companies).