Name: Jacopo Pistone
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: LL.B Law with Politics and LL.M European Commercial Law
University: University of Manchester and LMU Munich
Hobbies: Politics, cooking, motorsports, travelling and football
Current department: Corporate
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 9/2
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
The first time I thought about becoming a solicitor came after a school play at the age of 11, in which I played a lawyer. Once I was old enough to seriously think about my future, I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted to do something intellectually stimulating, that gives me new challenges every day. That was when I realised that 11-year old me was right after all.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
I had a tough first and second year at university, due to personal reasons, which had an impact on my grades. This made securing interviews, in an already incredibly competitive market, rather difficult. Although I had the opportunity to explain the situation, the grades remained and it is difficult to compete on paper with someone who throughout their university career did consistently extremely well.
I made up for it by gathering as much work experience (including in non-law sectors) as possible and I believe that this was crucial for me in securing a training contract.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
“What is your standpoint on aggressive tax avoidance by individuals and/or corporations?”
I thought this was a tricky question, as it is not only technical but also political loaded and you never really know who you have in front of you. I gave my honest opinion and did not try to anticipate what my interviewer might want to hear.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I am currently on secondment in our Milan office where we work on a variety of cross-border corporate and commercial matters. We advise on share sales and purchases, joint ventures and a broad range of commercial agreements. We particularly focus on sports and luxury brands.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I really enjoy the incredible variety of work that I have been exposed to in my first year at Withers. My work has ranged from classic share sales and purchases to succession disputes to drafting endorsement agreements for celebrities and fashion designers.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t expect to have as much client contact from the very beginning. For example, I had to take two clients out to dinner by myself during my second seat.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s an email from our travel agent attaching my ticket for my flight back from Milan to Heathrow later this week.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
That’s a good question… Unfortunately, I’ve been away for the last six months and I’m completely out of the loop.
Describe your training partner in three words.
We recently changed training partner and because I’ve been away from London I have not had the chance to meet her yet
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I speak five languages
- I have a collection of over 100 football jerseys
- I classified ahead of Sébastien Ogier (Rally World Champion) at a classic car rally
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have loved to be a food critic. Like most Italians, I always have a strong opinion about anything I eat.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Know your strengths and match them with the right firm!