Lucy Tavener, Latham & Watkins

Name: Lucy Tavener

Firm: Latham & Watkins

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: History

University: Durham

Hobbies: Pilates, Cycling, Watching football

Current department: Employment

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: I primarily applied for vacation schemes so these numbers are very low – 3/4

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

Growing up, I was told that I could argue the hind legs off a donkey and stereotypically pointed towards the law, but I only made the decision when I finished my first vacation scheme in my second year of university. At that point I knew I enjoyed the reality of being a solicitor: the type, pace and challenges of the work; knowing that made the decision easy. 

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

The competition was intense, which was definitely a huge challenge, but I think the biggest challenge was my own interview nerves. I left every interview feeling like I had failed but my interview at Latham was so much more relaxed and I think that helped quell my nerves.

Lucy Tavener, Latham & Watkins
Lucy Tavener, Latham & Watkins

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

“Why didn’t you take a gap year?” That question really threw me, but I tried to make it relevant to my decision to become a solicitor by stressing that I had law in mind as a potential career when deciding what to study at university, and that taking a gap year would have meant being another year behind my peers who had studied law.

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

The employment team handles broad mix of pro bono work, small and discrete pieces of work for major clients, and work assisting corporate with huge mergers, and IPOs. The corporate work involves fast-paced and dynamic teamwork, while the pro bono and discrete client work has a different feel and offers greater opportunities to develop drafting skills and explore niche points of law. That’s what makes the work so interesting: in the morning you could be responsible for drafting an employment contract or settlement agreement (with an associate on hand if you need help) and in the afternoon work on due diligence as part of an enormous team of lawyers working on a major corporate transaction.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The atmosphere, which is relaxed and informal; the people, who manage to remain friendly even at when you’re up against it; and the variety of work.

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

The level of responsibility! In my first seat, banking, I frequently found myself fielding queries from the clients, and you are able to build relationships and rapport with clients’ in-house legal and compliance teams very quickly.

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

My supervisor thanking me for research I had done to form the basis of advice to a client.

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

Our canteen, Red & White.  

Describe your training partner in three words.

Approachable, unequivocal, incisive.

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

  • I once took a (very large) tin of homemade brownies to a party and ate almost all of them
  • I melted the soles of my shoes off by walking along the Rim trail at the Grand Canyon
  • I am one of the most clumsy individuals I know, but have never broken a bone. 

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

Probably the civil service, although I might still have leant towards law and applied to GLS.

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

The most important piece of advice I could give would be to apply for a lot of vacation schemes as early as you can. I think it is hard to know which areas of law will interest you and the style or size of firm that will suit you until you get some experience. If you are ineligible to apply for vacation schemes, or if the firm you are interested in does not offer one, it is worth emailing HR with your CV to find out if they offer shorter work experience places.