Ryan Adams, Shulmans

Name: Ryan Adams

Firm: Shulmans

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law (LLB)

University: Leeds Beckett

Hobbies: Boxing, Golf and walking Jake my Yorkshire terrier.

Current department: Commercial

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 25/3

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I have always enjoyed problem solving and helping others. As the law affects everyone and every business, I thought a career as a solicitor would marry with what I enjoyed doing.

After undertaking work placements, and meeting many different lawyers, it cemented by ambition to train and qualify as a solicitor. Plus I assumed it would be easier than being a doctor.

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

I found it difficult to express my attributes in my application forms rather than demonstrate my personality and experiences, I tried to give the answer I thought the law firms wanted to hear. I received countless rejections many without detailed or constructive feedback, so I wasn’t able to correct the mistakes I was clearly making.

Every interview I had went really well (in my opinion), and I would say a lack of interview experience hindered my success for the first two I had, but thankfully I was third time lucky.

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

“If the partner asked you to handle a matter for a client whose business was something you morally disagreed with, would you have any issues acting for the client or would you ask for the matter to given to another fee earner?”

It’s difficult to know what they were really asking for. I wanted to say that as long as the business is not illegal, I would provide my legal services to them. But applying a little thought, I sat on the fence and gave a long winded “yes but no, it all depends” kind of answer. I am yet to face this kind of situation, so ask me again in a couple of years.

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

The commercial team is going through an exciting time as we are rapidly expanding and dealing with some really interesting and varied work. The team deals with a full range of commercial issues assisting businesses that trade in the UK and throughout the world. Each lawyer has their own specialism from IT and software, intellectual property, charity/not-for-profit, to sport, regulatory and environment – so the work is extremely diverse.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is working with and learning from some very talented people, who value my effort and who are enthusiastic about my development. Having a keen interest in sports law, the firm has encouraged me to pursue this interest and have allowed me to build up my knowledge by attending sports law courses and seminars. As a result I have been involved in a number of sport related matters. They even supported me to create the UK’s first National Sports Law Negotiation Competition which was launch in April.

So being able to work on things that relate to my interests and at the same develop as a lawyer, makes the not so enjoyable aspects of the job worthwhile.

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

I didn’t expect to be in charge of my own bills, invoicing and time recording every aspect of my working day. Of course I knew it was part of the job, and I heard stories of time recording and billing, but never thought it would be too difficult. But as someone who is not administratively organised, it’s been an arduous task trying to military train myself to balance doing the job with the background soft skills (which are vitally important).

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

The email is from the partner in my team and is titled “URGENT RESPONSE BY 3PM”, I better not look or I will never finish this interview.

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

I’m usually the last one to hear about everything, so either people don’t gossip here or they just don’t tell me about it.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Hardworking, experienced and approachable.

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

  • I have trained with two weight world champion Ricky Hatton.
  • I have an Uncle Bryan, who is quite famous.
  • I have seen my favourite band (The View) 36 times.

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

A rockstar, a boxer or a sports agent… the latter could still happen?

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

I cannot stress enough the importance of networking. I would encourage anyone pursuing a career in law to start networking as early as possible, meet as many people as you can (legal and non-legal) and take every opportunity that you are presented with – you never know what it may lead to.