You’re not just a number – people buy into your career Lakhmi Halaith
Associate London

Why did you want to pursue a career at Osborne Clarke?

It was the interesting deals and big names that Osborne Clarke is involved with that made me apply initially. I also love the firm’s personable culture. People genuinely care and there is a flat, non-hierarchical structure. You can have a conversation with anybody here and the partners are really approachable. I also found that the interview process was relaxed and not as scary as other firms. In fact the approachability of the partners made me stick with the process over other firms.

What was the recruitment process like?

I applied for the vacation scheme and was interviewed by two partners at an assessment centre. It felt like the partners were keen to get to know you and what you were like as a person. It all felt more like a conversation rather than them trying to ‘trip you up’ and there was a relaxed atmosphere compared to other firms.

How has your training contract at Osborne Clarke aided your transition to qualified lawyer?

I definitely feel that during my training contract I was given a lot of responsibility and that I got used to being proactive, which is great preparation for when you are qualified. I was made to feel like part of the team and that I had an important role to play in transactions. As a trainee you get a lot of other people’s time and all lawyers, including partners, will sit down with you and help you learn. This investment in their time helps provide a strong foundation and makes you really feel valued and part of the team. Because the trainee intake at Osborne Clarke is smaller, you get more time and responsibility. You’re not just a number – people buy into your career and they want you to excel and the same applies when you have your own trainees to support.

Describe a typical day

No two days are the same and this job has taught me that you can plan as much as you want but you never know what clients will need and that’s part of what makes this career so interesting.

Describe an important deal that you have worked on

I’ve worked on some really interesting, complex, high-value deals that frustratingly I can’t talk about as they are confidential, and some cool pro bono projects too. I assisted on the purchase of a building for LandAid, a homeless charity that we support at Osborne Clarke. I got to go on a site visit to the client’s premises and see their plans and being able to see what they were aiming to do was really fulfilling.

Could you tell us more about your vacation scheme experience?

Overall it was a great experience and it’s a great way to get to know the firm. People genuinely take an interest in you and go to great lengths to explain their role. At other firms you get sat at a desk and no-one talks to you, but at Osborne Clarke the team made an effort to get to know me and get me involved with work.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give anyone considering applying to Osborne Clarke?

Apart from ‘read the questions on the application form thoroughly’, this is such a common mistake, the one piece of advice I would give is to be yourself. It’s so hard to get a training contract and no matter what, you need to make sure it’s the right firm for you.

What else have you been involved in at Osborne Clarke?

Three years ago, as a trainee I helped set up our BAME network to increase ethnic minority representation at recruitment level, all the way up to senior levels, and also to grow awareness in a positive light, sharing the good things about different cultures.

My role has expanded into hosting work experience schemes, mentoring programmes and producing a monthly newsletter. The whole process has been really rewarding, all the partners have been supportive and slowly we’re seeing changes, shifts in people’s engagement and raised awareness.

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