When asked why I chose Sullivan & Cromwell, I did not struggle to identify the possible rationales for my choice. It could be their unparalleled reputation for excellence in the legal industry. Alternatively, it could be their rare combination of a small intake and access to the most truly top-drawer clients. Yet the most distinguishing factor for me was S&C’s culture. Indeed, having experienced such a welcoming work environment from Day One of my vacation scheme, I saw that the often deep-rooted divisions between levels of seniority are diminished here. At S&C, where peoples’ doors are both metaphorically and literally always open, it was both easy and enjoyable to become integrated within the team. Naturally, when a law firms’ most important asset is its’ people, it is important to harmonise with those you work with. The ease of doing this at S&C made it the clear choice for me.
After only three weeks of working at the Firm, I have already made a formal merger notification to the European Commission, assisted in the drafting of important documents, sat in on a meeting with the EC and travelled to meet clients of the Firm. As a trainee, I believe this level of exposure to high-profile and meaningful work is rather unmatched in the industry. Whilst it cannot be said that the work will always be easy, at S&C you can be assured the work will always be intellectually stimulating and will challenge you to be a better lawyer. The work also demonstrates S&C’s focus on the recent trend towards globalisation (both regarding our clients and our firm). The Firm’s veraciously global reach and seamless cross-border capabilities mean you will have the opportunity to work for a truly international firm.
Sullivan & Cromwell boasts a corporate department as good as any of the magic circle, but with more focus on its people and culture. The Firm exudes a strong, team-orientated atmosphere; from the lawyers to the secretaries and support staff, all members are integrated and feel their contributions are valuable. Such a collaborative work environment does not only engender increased effectiveness regarding our practice, but it also makes S&C a refreshingly enjoyable place to work.
The Vacation Scheme
The S&C vacation scheme is one of the best forms of legal work experience you can get. Not only is it instrumental in obtaining one of the Firm’s highly sought-after training contracts, but it also provides the opportunity to advance your legal dexterity and network with some of the finest practitioners in the industry. The two-week scheme gives students first-hand experience in real ongoing cases. For example, I was able to help draft parts of a Bond Offering Memorandum in my first week. However, most importantly, it will give you the crucial insight as to whether you are the right fit for the Firm, and whether the Firm is the right fit for you.
At S&C, there is always a focus on enhancing and developing your legal acumen. Indeed, the extensive pre-TC orientation programme, coupled with weekly training sessions during the two years as a trainee, is symptomatic of this notion. However, what distinguishes S&C from other firms’ training programmes is the genuine mentoring from partners. As one of only four or five trainees, senior lawyers are able to take the time to genuinely guide and mentor you, shaping your training experience from the first day of your contract. Undeniably, the practice of law is a continuous journey of learning—whether you’re a trainee or a partner. I believe that S&C is an unrivalled place to start that journey.