Robbie Ferag, Linklaters

Name: Robbie Ferag

Firm: Linklaters

Position: Trainee Solicitor

Degree: Geography BA (Hons)

University: Durham (Hatfield College)

Hobbies: Rugby, cricket, food and travel

Current department: Corporate (private equity)

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 4/3

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

Becoming a qualified solicitor is an invaluable experience. The skills that you develop during law school and your training contract will no doubt be of benefit throughout your career, whether that be in law or elsewhere in the City. Negotiation, critical analysis and working to tight deadlines are key skills in law and these are skills I thought suited my professional character.

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

Trying to pick the right firm and trying to make my application stand out.

Robbie Ferag
Robbie Ferag, Linklaters

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

I was once asked how many windows were on the front of the building I was being interviewed in. After a prolonged pause I walked the partner through some basic mathematical steps, obviously there was no right or wrong answer but as with any lengthy interview question approach, attitude and logical analysis were the competencies the partner was assessing. 

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

I sit within the corporate department at Linklaters but within a smaller team that focuses on European private equity and sovereign wealth funds. Our clients include some of the big private equity firms in Europe and we advise them on a variety of deals they may enter into throughout the life of their funds. The work is mostly private M&A but given market conditions we are seeing an increasing number of IPOs and dual-track deals. 

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Contrary to the rumours, being a trainee comes with a lot of responsibility, and this is especially so at Linklaters. I am regularly given entire work streams to manage and can be given smaller deals to run under the supervision of a partner. The variety of work is also a great aspect of the job as not only can you work on a variety of deals within a department you also rotate every six months between departments. The travel opportunities are a sweetener too (I just got back from six months in Hong Kong for my second seat)!  

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

The number of opportunities available to trainees from secondments abroad and with clients to free language lessons and all the other benefits that help both your personal life and your career. We have dry cleaning, physios, doctors, dentists, chefs and many more helpful teams on site to help you cope with what can sometimes be a hectic lifestyle.

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

The most recent email is from a client asking for some modifications to a piece of drafting I did last week resulting from a change in the structure to a proposed joint venture. The next e-mail relates to the organisation of our Linklaters rugby tour!

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

The in-house restaurant, Silks.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Supportive. Northern. Revered. 

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

I play five musical instruments. I have been to 56 countries. I have jumped the world’s highest bungee jump. 

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

Something more consultancy based.

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

Try to get some experience. A firm that has 2-4 weeks of know-how on you from a vacation scheme can make a much more rounded decision as to whether you are suitable compared to an interview day alone. The more experience you have the more genuine your answers are likely to be when you’re asked questions such as “why law?” and “why this firm?”.

Also, only talk about something relating to a partner’s business or their specialities if you are confident you could stand up to questioning from an expert. They won’t expect you to know as much as they do on their area of law! You also don’t want to be caught reciting something from the FT unless you have read around the subject, so follow stories that you are interested in so that you’ll be happy to talk about those.