Why did you want to pursue a career in Law?
At an early stage, I think my personality traits attracted me to the legal profession. I therefore had little hesitation in choosing to study law. Ive always valued clear communication and logical reasoning. I place great importance on making sure that decisions are reasoned, fair and justified – and I believe that these values are a cornerstone of the legal profession.
Why OC London?
Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to the pace and excitement of London, and so upon graduating in South Africa I made the move to the big city. I started researching firms at which to apply for a training contract – opting to focus on UK-based law firms with a strong presence in London. As I didn’t have the local awareness, I therefore relied more on the information provided by websites like LawCareers.Net, The Lawyer and RollonFriday. It meant that, although I was approaching the British profession from the outside, I had a lot of reliable information to draw on.
Some firms really jumped out at me and seemed to be great places to work, so I narrowed my focus to that group. Osborne Clarke was one of those firms – it enjoyed a lot of praise from its own employees, who seemed to really enjoy their work.
Do you have any tips for other trainees looking to apply to the vac scheme?
I made the move to London and found work as a legal administrator in a City-based firm. During this time, and before taking on the GDL and LPC, I started to apply for vacation scheme places and training contracts. I applied to just three firms, which may seem like an excessively narrow focus, but the industry advice emphasised that firms want your application to be tailored in order to show your desire to work for them. It was clear that I would be best served by focusing on those firms that I was really keen on, rather than applying to every firm with a listing in the Legal 500. I secured a place on a vacation scheme with Osborne Clarke, which was rounded off with an interview. I was offered a training contract on the back of that and was so happy that I withdrew my other applications.
What’s it like to work at OC?
From the outset, I was made to feel welcome. I was invited to a string of firm-wide social events which made me feel like part of the team before I actually started my training contract. We were treated really well as vac schemers and the firm kept in regular contact with us from the moment we were offered training contracts to the day we started. The firm has continued to prioritise our development as trainees, and I feel quite privileged to have had this quality of investment.
How have you found the training and development process?
The firm’s approach to training contracts combines a healthy blend of formal learning with frequent opportunities for gaining practical experience, and I feel that the firm has provided the right balance to aid my development. We have regular training sessions, which cover new legal developments and explain the more difficult recurring issues we are likely to come across in practice.
Do you have any advice for people who may be thinking about starting a career as a lawyer?
You’ll have already heard that legal expertise and an appreciation of commercial concerns are essential qualities for a lawyer, but if you’ve got an appetite to keep on learning then your development will continue throughout your career. Another essential characteristic to cultivate is attention to detail; some people might find this dry or tedious, but it is one of the qualities that make lawyers such valuable advisers – we care about these things. You’ll also need people skills, because people are at the centre of every organisation or transaction.
And finally, remember to not leave your personality at your firm’s reception desk. Everyone brings something different to Osborne Clarke, which is one of the reasons why it is such a great place to work.