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Vanessa Chia

Trainee Solicitor, London,
My decision to train at S&C was driven by my experience of the Firm’s work and culture during my summer vacation scheme. Working in a smaller office with a world-class international practice is a unique and incredible experience. It allows you to not only be involved in exciting deal work, but also to undertake significant responsibility in your deal teams very early on. These are unwavering characteristics of the S&C London Office and, a year into my training contract, I remain impressed by the quality of work and the collaborative culture of the firm.
The Deals
The work at S&C is varied. The Firm’s generalist focus has been greatly beneficial to my professional development as a trainee. I have had the opportunity to work on a diverse portfolio of deals with broad-ranging clients, and it has taught me to be adaptable and quick on the uptake. I have found that critical problem-solving is key to being a good lawyer, and this should not be limited to specific practice areas or industry-specific deals.
S&C has an exceedingly international practice. In my first year at the firm, not a single one of the deals I worked on had only English law aspects or involved only English companies. This means that you quickly learn to work well in unfamiliar territory and gain confidence coordinating with people working across multiple jurisdictions. My experience on international deals has ranged from reviewing and marking up Hungarian security documents to researching New York law. What sets S&C apart from other firms in the city is that it can be said with confidence that every day is different.
The People
At S&C, particularly as a smaller office, there is a culture of trust and mutual respect in the firm. Socially, this makes for a warm and welcoming work environment among the lawyers and the support staff, but as trainees, this culture also seeps into our work and the level of responsibility entrusted to us. The associates and partners value trainees’ insights and opinions, and we are entrusted with high-level and client-facing work at an early stage— opportunities which are not naturally available to trainees at bigger city firms.
We have lean deal teams (often with only one or two trainees) no matter the size or complexity of the deal, and this is only possible with a high level of trust and accountability among people at the firm. In my first year, I found myself running work streams independently, reviewing and drafting transaction documents and engaging with clients and other advisers. In fact, on most transactions as an S&C trainee, you will find yourself working at the same level as associates in other city firms, which is an invaluable experience early on in your career.
While this may seem daunting as a trainee, there is also a genuine open-door policy at S&C where people are always happy to take questions or explain a deal to you. People at S&C are friendly and social, and it is often the case that your colleagues quickly become good friends to you outside of work. In my experience, there is significant camaraderie and solidarity at the firm, which becomes particularly comforting when deal work becomes demanding. At S&C, the people truly make the place.

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