Victoria Johnson, Mayer Brown

Name: Victoria Johnson

Firm: Mayer Brown International

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law

University: Oxford

Hobbies: Netball, running, piano

Current department: Employment

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/2

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I found my law degree challenging and interesting and I believed that I would enjoy working in a field that was academic, practical and engaging. Additionally, I really enjoyed my vacation scheme at Mayer Brown as I experienced a variety of tasks, including research, drafting client memos and attending an injunction hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice. I also found the team at Mayer Brown to be really welcoming and I thought it would be an excellent environment to develop as a junior solicitor.

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

One big challenge was the poor economic climate at the time I was applying for training contract (2009). The market had faced a significant downturn post-2007 and there was a lot of competition for training contracts.

Victoria Johnson, Mayer Brown
Victoria Johnson, Mayer Brown

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

I was asked which other firms I had applied to for training contracts, why I had applied to them and which job would I take if I was offered more than one training contract. I wasn’t expecting to be asked this question so I had not given it much thought and then it was difficult to justify applying to other firms which were quite different from one another. I tried to draw on similarities between the firms, for example, high-profile/top quality work and then focused on why I wanted this job in question rather than any other job.

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

We do a lot of high profile employment litigation work as well as a range of client advisory queries.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I really enjoy the client interaction and high degree of responsibility afforded to junior members of the team.

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

I didn’t expect the team to be as friendly and welcoming as they were. From day one, I felt a valued and respected part of the team.

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

The weekly newsletter from the Employment Lawyers Association about ’top topics this week in employment law’.

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

The kitchens!

Describe your training partner in three words.

Supportive, encouraging, friendly.

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

  • I have run a marathon
  • I have completed a 50km hike
  • I have done the Inca Trail.

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

I would probably have pursued a career as a teacher. I enjoy History and English and believe I am a good communicator. I really enjoy the primary school CSR project which I am involved in.

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

I would advise them to attend as many law fairs and university talks as possible in order to try and get a feel for the type of law firm/area of law they would like to pursue. I would highly recommend a vacation scheme at a law firm as it is a fantastic opportunity to meet future colleagues, gain practical experience and come to a concrete decision about whether a career in law is for you!