When I was trying to decide which firms to apply to, S&C stood out for two reasons. First was S&C’s generalist approach to legal practice, whereby lawyers work flexibly across a number of areas of law. This sounded like a stimulating and interesting environment in which to train. The second reason was the nature of the work, which is invariably cross-border, complex and high-value.
In the two weeks since I have started I have worked on a number of interesting transactions. A good representative example is the restructuring of a large multinational company which is on the brink of insolvency. This has involved drafting and reviewing documents, liaising with foreign counsel in a number of jurisdictions, and seeing how the negotiating process with lenders’ counsel plays out. The team is small for a transaction of this size, so you are given quite a lot of responsibility early on. As you grow in confidence and get to grips with the basics, you are encouraged to stretch yourself by taking charge of particular aspects of a deal.
The atmosphere is supportive and positive, so that you quickly feel at ease asking for help. This is partly linked to the size of the office, which is small enough that you get to know everyone who works here pretty quickly. The same is true of my trainee intake: we now know each other very well and form a good group. The firm ensures that we are in the same classes on the LPC, and puts on a number of social events for current and future trainees throughout the year.
The Vacation Scheme
I did a number of vacation schemes, and enjoyed the S&C scheme most by some margin. It was very well-run, friendly, and gives you a clear idea of what it’s like to work as a trainee here. Instead of trying to bribe you with a different social event each evening, the focus was on giving you a dress rehearsal of life as a trainee (which isn’t to say that there were no social events!). You are given real work, and are encouraged to become fully involved in whatever deals the office is working on. It’s easily the best way of deciding whether this is the career for you.
The training programme at S&C is substantial and diverse. The partners put on biweekly training lunches, where lawyers present on topics relevant to S&C’s practice. The other week saw lawyers from S&C’s European offices come to London for an annual legal seminar, with presentations and discussions on what S&C’s lawyers in London, Frankfurt and Paris had been working on. To top it all off, the New York office puts on its own (considerable) diet of training sessions, which we are looped into via videoconference.