Tarik Kenan, Michelmores

Name: Tarik Kenan

Firm: Michelmores

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law

University: Exeter

Hobbies: Tennis, Football, Rugby

Current department: Corporate

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: Countless

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

There are many reasons why I chose to train as a solicitor but I guess the underlying reason is that I need to be challenged and I knew that a career in law would definitely provide this. It hasn’t disappointed.

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

My biggest challenge was actually figuring out the type of career and life that I wanted. At university we were all bombarded with the large recruitment campaigns run by many of the City firms but I actually had to step back and think deeply about whether that was what I wanted.

I concluded that for me, the benefits of working in a regional firm far outweighed those of working in the City. Working at a large regional firm provides me with the opportunity to get involved in and have responsibility on high profile, complex transactions but it also means that I get to go home at a reasonable hour and have a life outside work. There are of course times where I have to stay late if we are completing a transaction, but these are occasional.

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

My experience of interviews was that interviewers weren’t trying to ‘catch you out’ and so the hardest questions I was asked ended up being those that I had not fully prepared for in early interviews. It’s very hard to convince an interviewer that you want to be a solicitor or that you understand how businesses operate if you don’t know. Therefore, I would say that preparation is the key to avoiding tough questions.

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

The transactions that we are working on are mainly share and asset acquisitions for large companies. We are in a very good position at the moment in that we can procure high profile work through our London office and process it at our regional offices making it very cost effective for our clients. We also have great long-term relationships with many businesses that operate in the South West and so are perfectly placed to advise them on all of their corporate legal needs.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I really enjoy sitting in on client meetings as hearing the transaction from the client’s perspective really does help me to understand the detail of it. It is also very satisfying knowing that you are sitting across a board room table from the directors and the owners of large, well-known companies and that they know your name and who you are.

I also enjoy helping out at the many events that Michelmores organises. These are a great way to network and get to know contacts from existing and prospective clients, learn some current and very relevant law that you probably didn’t know and usually to enjoy some great food.

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

Tarik Kenan, Michelmores
Tarik Kenan, Michelmores

I didn’t expect it to be as fast-paced as it is. I had never worked in an office before this and had misconceptions of it being slow and potentially a bit boring at some points. On the contrary, I work mainly for five or six fee earners who are either partners or associates so there is always urgent work that needs to be done, especially on days on which deals are being completed. Add to that the various marketing events to attend, client meetings and loads of training sessions and it means that my day always goes quickly as I am continually kept busy.

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

The most recent one is from a colleague in my team letting us know that she has brought cakes for all of us as a Friday treat. However, my second most recent email is from a partner asking me to correspond with a client of ours to ask him to sign two completion documents.

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

Naturally the need for coffee draws us out to the breakout/kitchen areas located on each floor and this is where we younger lawyers often congregate for a bit of gossip/occasional ranting.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Firm, fair, supportive.

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

  • My favourite film is Titanic
  • I have flown a plane
  • I was almost quarantined in Hong Kong

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

The business side of the law, i.e. providing solutions to fit specific business needs is what I really enjoy so it would have to be something like business consultancy… or a surf instructor in Australia.

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

You’re in a lucky position as right now there is more of a market for young lawyers than there are candidates. That said, it won’t be easy getting a training contract but if you put the work in and do your research the opportunity is there for you. Also, don’t rely on good grades. They will persuade recruiters to read your application but it is your experience and ability to demonstrate the skills that you have which will get you an interview and on to assessment days.