It was a really great feeling to meet the directors of the company for the signing as I could see how much they appreciated the work we had put in for them Liam O’Connor

Why did you want to pursue a career in Law?

I wanted to have a career where I felt challenged, where no two days would be the same, and where I could work as part of a team. I have not been disappointed at Osborne Clarke as the firm is really committed to providing excellent opportunities for its trainees and employees and I experience a wide variety of work with really great clients and colleagues.

Why Osborne Clarke?

I chose Osborne Clarke because it had a great reputation for being a friendly and supportive place to work, whilst also having an impressive client list. During my time at university and as a paralegal I had come across firms that had one of these attributes but not the other; Osborne Clarke strikes a really good balance of being top-performing whilst genuinely caring about its people.

Your vacation scheme experience

The vacation scheme was a really enjoyable experience. Everyone at the firm made an effort to get to know me and my fellow vac schemers, and alongside the work experience the firm put on lots of talks and events to help give us an insight into the various areas of the business. One noticeable thing compared to other schemes I had done was that I was given real work from live client matters, which was a great way find out the types of work the firm gets up to.

How was your induction to Osborne Clarke?

My induction to Osborne Clarke was very comprehensive with the first week of my training contract spent on training and receiving talks from various parts of the business. The induction was held in Bristol but all of the trainees from London and Reading were there for the week so it was also a great opportunity for us to all get to know each other.

My first seat was in Corporate which I really enjoyed, it was very different to any of the experiences I had gained as a paralegal. I particularly liked the fast-paced nature of corporate deals and working as part of a team to get projects over the line. I had a great level of support from my supervisor who made sure that I got the learning I needed, whilst also trusting me to take on tasks for myself where I was capable.

What have been your highlights so far?

One personal highlight in my first seat was when I attended the completion of one of the projects I was working on. I was involved in this particular project from start to finish (which doesn’t always happen when you’re in a six month seat) It was a really great feeling to meet the directors of the company for the signing meeting as I could see how much they appreciated the work we had put in for them.

Whilst in my second seat in the financial institutions group I worked on a high profile case for a card payment provider. It was a fast moving matter and I got to look into some really complex areas of law which was a good challenge. The things I had helped advise on during this seat would regularly be mentioned in the news which was a very rewarding thing to see.

Could you provide any insights into the training and support your offered?

Aside from work I am fortunate to be able to attend lots of different types of training. We have professional skills courses as part of our trainee training programme which teaches us a lot about the ‘softer’ skills needed as a solicitor. There are also loads of opportunities to attend department and sector specific training, and one of our trainee objectives in each seat is actually to present at these sessions which can be daunting but rewarding.

I’ve found that at all levels the amount of support I’ve received from the firm has been really good. You have a trainee supervisor in each seat who acts as a sounding board for any questions you might have and I have never felt like I’ve been left by myself to get on with a task without either having talked through it with a supervisor, or knowing that I have people I can go to with my questions.

What do you wish you’d know about being a trainee before you started your training contract?

I went through a few recruitment cycles before I got my training contract, and the thing that I wish I had known at the start was to be more targeted with your approach to applications. By shortening the list of firms you are looking to apply to and spending more time researching and getting to know them, you get a better sense of which firms are the right fit for you. Firms will know if you’ve put the time in and that will make your chances of success much higher. Open evenings are a great way to get to know how a firm really works.

One piece of advice you’d give anyone considering applying to Osborne Clarke?

The best piece of advice I could give sounds a little cliché but it is to be yourself. Osborne Clarke wants individuals as trainees, and is not looking for a uniform type. You will have skills and attributes that are of benefit to the firm, so don’t be afraid to let these shine through in your applications and at assessment days!

Osborne Clarke is genuinely deserving of the reputation it has for its culture. It is a great place to work and no matter your position everyone is valued equally for the contribution they make. It is a very supportive environment and the firms leadership really do want to do what is right by employees.

How have you found working during COVID?

The firm has been really good at adapting to home-working during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a future-focussed firm we had already made the transition to agile working before the pandemic started so all trainees had laptops and occasionally worked from home anyway.

The firm has also set up ‘lounges’, where people can come together virtually to talk. This is really good to see as it’s an important way of keeping the culture of the firm going, and making sure that people are supported.

Could you tell us about your secondment?

At the moment I am on a client secondment, which is really fun and a fantastic opportunity. The type of work that I am involved in is very different to the seats I have done so far. The work is very varied, from high profile product launches through to contracts for building maintenance. I am also getting exposure to litigation and employment work which is great for my development.

One of the main benefits of being on secondment is getting hands-on experience and being able to run my own matters, whilst knowing that I have supervision both from the business and Osborne Clarke if I need it.

Another huge benefit of being on secondment is being able to experience first-hand the clients perspective. I’m much closer as a secondee to the commercial reasoning behind the decisions that the business makes than I might be in a normal seat, and I’ll be able to use this information to help me better understand clients going forward.

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