Name: Michaela Berryman
Firm: Blake Morgan
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law (LLB)
University: De Montfort University (Leicester)
Hobbies: Singing, face painting and craft
Current department: Corporate
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 10/1
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
When I was trying to choose A Levels and then a degree, my dad told me to choose what made me happy and what I enjoyed the most; that way I would end up doing something I loved.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
I found that not having attended a Russell Group university meant that I needed to have a little bit extra on my applications to make sure I stood out from the crowd, even after achieving a first class degree. Ensuring you have experience as a paralegal, an interesting hobby or some life experience, even if it’s a gap year of travelling is becoming increasingly important.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
Anything about commercial awareness! If you’ve never worked in a law firm, it’s difficult to know what it really means, or how you’re supposed to answer. I made sure I read The Lawyer and Lawyer 2B the night before so I had a couple of talking points, plus awareness that a law firm is a business and that it needs to make money.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
We handle mergers, acquisitions and disposals for our clients which means we do a lot of buying and selling of companies, dealing with the due diligence and assisting clients with any issues that may occur during the progress of a transaction. The team also helps clients with IPO’s, corporate governance and group restructuring on a regular basis.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
A successful completion! Once you see the hard work that goes into a transaction and the investment a client has both personally and financially in it you’re always really pleased that it’s been a success.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The amount of networking! I was at a breakfast event this morning and trying to master the art of talking about something interesting and eating breakfast in a room full of clients at 8am is really difficult. This is where it’s useful to know as much as you can about your firm, but also have something to fall back on if the client doesn’t just want to talk business. This morning I chatted about crowd funded lending, international trade deals and how to make the best cupcakes.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s from a lawyer at another firm looking to arrange a completion on an amendment and restatement of an £85m facility that I’ve been looking after. This is a bit of a crossover from my previous seat in Banking and Asset Finance; however I wanted to see this through to ensure continuity for the client.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Any of the other trainees or paralegals. Being junior does have some advantages!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Humble, tireless and reassuring
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I love the colour grey.
- I love my job.
- I love dogs.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have trained as a primary school teacher.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Keep going! Rejections are horrible, but no response is worse. Keep applying, keep working and keep your spirits up. It doesn’t have to be a training contract either – there are so many other ways to work in law!