Samuel Munday, Bristows

Name: Samuel Munday

Firm: Bristows

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Biochemistry

University: Imperial College, London

Hobbies: Music, shooting, surfing and brunching

Current department: Competition

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 4/1

Samuel Munday, Bristows

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I always knew that working in the lab would never be for me, and it was suggested by lawyers at home that I consider the GDL as a way of combining my scientific background with a legal career. I originally considered the criminal bar, but work experience with a large regional firm in the South West illustrated that I preferred the solicitor route. Commercial, high-value work with big-name clients then drew me to the City.

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

The sheer number of law firms out there. Firms’ websites all imply they have the same values – openness, a friendly, team-focused culture, etc., so trying to distinguish between them proved difficult. I used networking events and open days to gain an insight into what the firms are really like.

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

Why law? I know it’s the question on every firms’ lips, but it is quite a difficult one to answer without sounding clichéd and generic, or false.

I tried to rely on my personal experiences, not only in the law, but in other aspects of my life. I talked about what I enjoyed from my legal work experience, but also other unrelated work experience which encompass the commercial aspects of my (now) legal career.

I was once asked by a lawyer, who was drinking in the pub I used to work at, for my thoughts on an aspect of one of his clients’ agricultural businesses. This illustrated to me the commerciality of legal work, in addition to critical analysis, fuelling my passion to enter the industry.

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

The department works on all aspects of competition law, including litigation, competition advice, compliance and public procurement contracts. A large portion of the department is currently engaged in the competition aspects of a huge patent trial, looking at what constitutes Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory licensing in the telecoms patents industry. Trainees are involved in drafting documents, liaising with witnesses, experts and counsel and attending and preparing for hearings.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Completion meetings – seeing the result of months of work finally drawing to a close, and the champagne that usually follows.

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

I didn’t expect the level of interaction with clients and counsel. Bristows often host client events, offering guidance and updates on various legal and commercial issues. We, as trainees, are actively encouraged to attend these events, not only to be updated ourselves, but to use the opportunity to network and begin building our own professional profiles in the industry.

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

I’ve just received an email from another trainee with a cat meme.

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

The Hub. It’s the place everyone goes for lunch, for end-of-the month drinks and the never-ending cake sales we have for charity. Gossip seems to be attracted to this place. Oh, and the water-cooler.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Inspiring, exceptional, and driven.

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

  • I am a trained sommelier.
  • I once served Kate Moss and her family a Sunday Roast.
  • I used to play croquet for my university.

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

Land agent.

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

Attend as many law firm events as you can to understand who they are, what they do, and whether they’re right for you. Tailor your applications, and success will follow.