I knew that I wanted to work at a firm with a global practice area where I would be able to try my hand in a broad range of legal contexts. The generalist approach of S&C allows for trainees, and those who are qualified, to work on deals and projects that span across all manner of legal issues. As a law student at university I think it can be difficult to determine which area(s) you would like to work in. I was attracted by the idea of being able to work this out on the job by being exposed to such varying work from the very beginning.
Another large factor in my choosing S&C was the intake size. I would rather work amongst a small group of people, particularly when undergoing training, as I think it is likely to be conducive to better professional development. S&C offers this without forcing you to compromise on the calibre of the work you undertake.
Each piece of work I have been given has further driven home the international nature of S&C’s work: everything I have been involved in thus far has spanned borders. This can create challenges and encourages you to think about the issues at play from the perspective of those outside looking-in at English law. There is a large degree of trust placed in the new trainees. I think this responsibility fosters confidence and resourcefulness as lawyers, which is reflected by those only a few years above.
I think it’s essential that you like and respect the people you work with, which I’ve found to be the case at S&C. Studying the LPC alongside the three or four people joining alongside you results in your arriving at S&C as part of a team from the off. In such a small office you very quickly get to know those around you. The others that work at S&C are friendly, helpful and polite. This is of huge importance to me as I think you need to be able to rely on those around you socially as well as professionally. Whether at lunch, drinks or dinner I’ve felt comfortable around everyone from the beginning of the vacation scheme through to my first seat.
The Vacation Scheme
The two week vacation scheme gives a relatively accurate view of what life at S&C is like as a trainee. There were no made-up tasks, aptitude tests or ice-breaker sessions – you are given an opportunity to find out for yourself how the firm operates and the nature of the work you’ll be undertaking once here. From research tasks for partners to collating files for signing, the vacation scheme offers variation and responsibility much in the same way the traineeship does. I enjoyed the maturity of this approach and have found it to be emblematic of the seemingly firm-wide attitude that the work you do is how you are to be judged.
It’s clear that providing a high level of training is one of S&C’s highest priorities. The training before beginning work proper is comprehensive, and the firm policy of flying all the new recruits out to the New York headquarters to ensure that everyone is trained in the same way speaks volumes about how much importance is placed on proper training. After you being work you are of course technically training all the time, in addition to this there are frequent and regular training sessions on specific processes and issues that slowly begin to furnish each trainee with solid foundations across the whole of the firm’s practice area. The training is also personalised wherever this suits, I have had one on one training on Excel having realised that it would be a helpful skill in one of the tasks I had been given.