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David Griffith-Jones

Trainee Solicitor, London

Why S&C?
I chose to do my training contract at Sullivan & Cromwell because I found its combination of top quality legal work and its personable size and character an appealing combination. There is rarely one stand-alone reason to choose a job, but here were some of the key influences for me:

The Work
S&C’s practitioners are international legal and business advisors of the highest calibre, and I knew I would learn so much by working for them. In London we usually work in teams comprising US lawyers and UK lawyers side-by-side, and often with lawyers from other jurisdictions and backgrounds. Almost none of our clients operate in only one jurisdiction and it is instructive to see lawyers and clients take strategic decisions drawing on each other’s experience. I think the diverse make-up of the office markedly improves the quality of our advice. Half of our lawyers in London primarily practise New York law. We have lawyers qualified in many other jurisdictions as well, bringing new ideas and local knowledge of those countries. Giving such multi-jurisdictional advice out of one London office is unusual among corporate law firms and makes S&C a vibrant and challenging place to train as a solicitor.

Trainees are stretched to fulfil their potential. My supervising partner and supervising associates give me the chance regularly to have a go at the first draft of a document or the first mark-up of draft documents from solicitors for the other side in a transaction. They will always talk through with me the mistakes I have made and help me to understand more precisely what they and clients are trying to achieve.

The Vacation Scheme
I had a great time on the vacation scheme. I liked it because it wasn’t a gimmicky fortnight filled with “Activity” but was the chance to try out being a trainee here. I felt very welcomed by everyone and did real work. I left with quite an accurate understanding of what is involved in training here and it was fun at the same time.

The People
It’s a relatively small office and the intake of trainees is small. Some people prefer being part of a bigger group, but it suits me well. It’s a friendly but stretching environment; our teams are small and everyone has to pull their weight but at the same time trainees get lots of contact and support from senior lawyers and everyone knows each other well.
Ultimately, a training contract is a wonderful opportunity to absorb from the tremendous body of experience of your chosen firm the knowledge, the confidence and the project management skills you will need in order to be an effective corporate solicitor. You should choose somewhere you think you will be supported and stretched to achieve that.

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