Name: Karoline Zwierzynska
Firm: Arnold & Porter (UK)
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: BSc Psychology
Hobbies: craft beer / real ale, gardening
Current department: Life Sciences
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: c.15/6
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I wanted a career where I could have an practical impact, but which challenged me intellectually.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Many recruiters were unimpressed with the fact I had not done a gap year and not worked outside the university setting.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I was once asked whether killing another person while drink-driving is more morally culpable than doing so as a result of falling asleep behind the wheel. I’m still not sure what a good answer to that question should be.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
We do a mixture of product liability litigation and regulatory advice, predominantly for pharmaceutical companies.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Every day brings a new challenge. You can never be complacent.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
How quickly you are expected to accurately research and answer clients’ questions. After having the luxury of long deadlines at university, it take time to learn the skills required for this very different way of working.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s a conflict check. We get a lot of these.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
I always get the gossip from my fellow trainee.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Approachable and well-connected
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I am an enthusiastic cyclist
- I keep pictures of my cat in the office
- I am a published author
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have probably done a PhD and thought of continuing a career in psychology
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Never act or think like you know it all – excessive confidence is an undesirable trait in junior lawyers.