Name: Will Jinks
Firm: Baker & McKenzie
Position: Trainee solicitor
Hobbies: Gym, reading, football
Current department: Structured capital markets
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: lots/7
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I decided at uni that I wanted a job with an international element, and working for a commercial law firm certainly offers this – very few deals are simply based in one jurisdiction. I did a few open days and was excited by the prospect of a career that is challenging and in an area that is constantly evolving. Also, like many students, I made critical life decisions based on things I watch on TV, and Suits made a strong case for going down the law route.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Mainly that it is difficult to get interviews in the first place, and then after that you have to learn how to do them well! It is a very gradual process of getting better each time, which I found frustrating and difficult at times, but worth it in the end!
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I was once asked what I’d learned from being a part-time football referee on weekends. This was tough question to answer because I’m not one. I was a bit thrown by it and there was a long awkward silence, and then the partner realised he had read the wrong file.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
It covers securitisation, debt capital markets, corporate trustee work and derivatives. What this means for a trainee is that you tend to be assigned to big, complex deals with lots of parties involved. This can be daunting, especially when you come into a department half-way through most of the deals. But it’s a great learning process – you get to see how even the smaller tasks you do fit into a larger context.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
I’ve really enjoyed starting as part of an intake – it’s been great to have a big group that I’ve known since law school who are all in the same boat. The first day definitely didn’t feel so nerve-wracking with that in mind.
The team also get on really well and are very approachable, which produces a great atmosphere to work in.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
It’s still early days, but I’ve actually used quite a lot of what I learned from law school, which I was led to believe wouldn’t be the case. But given that there is quite a bit of corporate trust work done here, there are a few things from the LPC and some from the GDL I have found useful. That being said, I think it varies depending on the department you are in.
I have also had more exposure to clients than I thought I would get before I started here.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
From HR – thanking me for agreeing to do this interview!
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The Blackfriar pub. There is always a big group of trainees there on Friday. And trainees talk…
Describe your training partner in three words.
(Sitting behind me)
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I used to live on the same street as Peter Andre
- I’ve been on Take Me Out
- I’ve been to Australia
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I watch a lot of cooking programmes, so I’d probably be some kind of celebrity chef. A part of me still thinks I am when I’m in the kitchen, so it would be nice to live that delusion.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Try to do a vacation scheme. It was the most decisive thing for me in choosing my training contract. Every firm will say they are market leading/most international/friendliest/best for training. The best way to actually find out what firms are like is to go there and actually meet people and see what they are working on.
Also, be patient when applying – it is a long drawn out process but ultimately worthwhile when you get the offer.