Suraya Chantler

I enjoyed the problem-solving aspects of my degree. I knew being a barrister wasn’t for me because I was not keen on the focus on advocacy and wanted to work directly with clients.

Suraya Chantler

Suraya Chantler

Firm: DLA Piper
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law
University: London School of Economics
Where did you study the LPC? College of Law, Chester
Hobbies: Indian classical dancing, Bollywood dancing, badminton
Department: Pensions

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? Law was one of my favourite A-levels so I decided to take a law degree. I enjoyed the problem-solving aspects of my degree. I knew being a barrister wasn’t for me because I was not keen on the focus on advocacy and wanted to work directly with clients.

Why did you choose commercial law? I did work experience for a variety of firms and the prospect of working with big household names and on headline cases dealing with complex issues attracted me to commercial law. The fact that I would receive sponsorship for my LPC and that the trainee salary was generous were also factors in my decision.

What’s been the highlight of your training contract so far? Being given the responsibility to communicate with clients and work on my own files. Also, having the opportunity to participate in corporate social responsibility activities and pro bono initiatives.

What does your typical day involve? So far, no two days been the same. The tasks I do often involve drafting legal documents such as deeds, corresponding with clients and other professionals via email, letter and telephone, carrying out research into legal or commercial issues and so on.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Being exposed to a wide range of law and getting to apply my technical legal knowledge to real situations.

What are the worst aspects of your job? Photocopying and other administrative tasks, plus the blister that is continually growing on one of my fingers from taking attendance notes.

What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession? That it is full of Oxbridge old boys. The profession increasingly attracts a wide range of people.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? Focus on your goal, attend law fairs and recruitment events, and talk to people who work at your targeted firms. Try and do work experience. Carry out research before making applications and prepare thoroughly for interviews. Don’t get disheartened at knock-backs – if you’re not right for a firm, chances are it’s not right for you either.

What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? Turning into a clone of the next applicant. It’s better to stand out and be yourself.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? I was lucky and had plenty of assessment days and interviews, but I was perhaps a little underconfident and let other applicants psyche me out.

How is law in practice different from studying law? When studying law it is divided into discrete areas. In practice you are often presented with scenarios that encompass a range of areas that interlink in ways you had not previously considered. Also, on a law degree you often debate purely academic questions whereas in practice the law is used as a tool in the context of clients’ instructions.