I chose Sullivan & Cromwell primarily due to the firm’s culture and my experience of this during my summer vacation scheme. The firm is welcoming, very collaborative, and there are always people willing to answer your questions – an incredibly important part of everyone’s development as a lawyer. There is no sense of detrimental competition between trainees (and indeed other vac schemers) as with a smaller intake, everyone is supportive of each other’s growth at the firm. In addition, I found that trainees are treated as true members of a deal team from the word go, and the work given to me during my vacation scheme was interesting and advanced – and importantly, they were not hypothetical or using made up clients to keep us busy with no practical results. These were the qualities which ultimately led me to choose S&C.
The type of work we do at S&C varies significantly from deal to deal and depends on which seat you are working in, but the deals are guaranteed to be high-profile and very international.
My first seat in finance was intense but very rewarding; the level of exposure to commercial discussions and client facing work is a memorable highlight from my first six months at the firm. In the capital markets department, the legal work you get involved in as a trainee, particularly when commenting on selling restrictions in debt or equity offerings, is intellectually stimulating and allows you to get involved with a lot of drafting – an opportunity that isn’t necessarily available for trainees at bigger firms.
At S&C, each deal team will typically only have one or two trainees – a common feature of smaller firms. However, there is no compromise on the size and complexity of the deals we work on, so naturally juniors are given more responsibility, and equally, more interesting work. Though the demands of certain deals can be challenging at times, I have found the work I have done at S&C to be fascinating and hugely worthwhile for my development.
Training opportunities, both formal and informal, are plentiful at S&C. Weekly training sessions are held by our know-how colleagues and practice area round-tables and seminars are held regularly by senior lawyers at S&C from across the globe. In addition, associates will often take the time to explain ideas and concepts as well as practice points to trainees, and through osmosis you rapidly learn what is truly important to understand when practicing law and managing deals. The wealth of know-how, training and support available to S&C lawyers is undoubtedly one of the best assets of the firm.