Nick Matthew, Macfarlanes

Name: Nick Matthew

Firm: Macfarlanes

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law LLB

University: Cardiff University

Hobbies: All sports, travelling and socialising

Current department: Investment Funds

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 1/1

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I enjoyed studying law at university, I wanted a well-paid respected career and I wanted to be in the City.

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

The biggest challenge is that which is faced by every applicant – standing out from the other applicants.

Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew, Macfarlanes

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

(Fictitious business plan exercise…)

INTERVIEWER: “So wait, this concierge service that you’re planning on setting up is going to have no start-up capital and only two employees, yet you want to operate out of a 500 square-foot premises in central London?”

ME: “Er…yes. We plan on growing quickly.”

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

My exposure to the investment funds department has mainly been focused on private equity fundraisings, i.e. making sure a group of investors are successfully admitted into a fund (lots of legal and administrative documents need to be negotiated and finalised in order to make this happen). The department is incredibly busy in this respect.

I know that those around me are also busy with both secondary transactions and investor-focused work, i.e. representing the investors themselves instead of the managers and/or general partners of the funds.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Actually drafting legal documents – it can be quite rare for a trainee in a transactional seat to feel like the lawyer that he/she envisaged they would become. My favourite tasks are drafting the necessary board minutes, deeds of adherence, deeds of guarantee etc.

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

Not visiting the library for the duration of my first seat.

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

From a colleague, asking me to dig out some documents from a previous matter to use as a precedent for a current matter. 

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

Café 5, the firm’s cafeteria.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Driven. Meticulous. Cricket.

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

  • I have once fallen out of a moving train;
  • I once received a medical X-ray on my broken jaw from a man wearing an FBI issue flak jacket, using a hand-held X-ray device, in a shed in the Bulgarian mountains
  • I was rescued from a pack of angry, hissing and fast-approaching monkeys by a family of orang-utans in Borneo.

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

With hindsight I would definitely have tried a lot harder in science classes in order to become a doctor.

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

CV-build from as soon as possible. Make sure you have everything that everyone else has, but then find a unique edge – think big and swim the English Channel, start a business or publish a book – something that you’re passionate to talk about and allows you to stand out at interview.