Olivier Swain, Taylor Wessing

Oliver Swain, Taylor Wessing

Name: Olivier Swain

Firm: Taylor Wessing

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: English Literature

University: Durham University

Hobbies: playing guitar; writing

Current department: Disputes and Investigations

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 10/6

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I thought that training a solicitor would mix intellectual challenges with the practicalities of helping clients to do business.

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

I went to university in Durham; my interviews were in London. It’s a four hour train journey, and there were a lot of them: it was difficult to write a final-year dissertation on a train.

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

“Do you think bankers failed to discharge their duties to society in the run up to 2008?” I made a mess of that one.

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

We act for a broad range of clients – from multinationals to individuals – in disputes ranging from regulatory investigations to criminal litigation.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I have really enjoyed spending time in court and seeing barristers at work – putting forward points and evidence that our team helped to prepare.

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

I didn’t expect to get quite so many emails every day.

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

It’s about an upcoming charity trip to the Arctic Circle – from the head of our banking team.

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

What gossip?

Describe your training partner in three words.

We have two: both are approachable, friendly and unflappable.

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

  • I used to have a pet duck.
  • I am allergic to elastic bands.
  • I appeared on the Teletubbies.

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

I would have wanted to write fiction full-time.

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

Do as much research on the firms that you apply to as you can. Think about the sort of work that you want to do and the sort of environment that you want to work in. Speak to people you know who work at law firms and ask them about their experience and about the things that matter to you.