Wednesday 26th November
Report by Rebecca Tatlow, CEPLER Correspondent
In the very early morning, long before sunrise, a group of intrepid students, all suited and booted, set off for London to discover as much as they could about being a city lawyer. Despite the rain and lack of sleep all were keen to meet representatives from the five host firms: Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Slaughter and May. Such ambitions were briefly thwarted by the closure of the motorway but no one let this deter them from making the most of the opportunity to tackle the serious questions such as “what do trainees do?” and “what are the applications really asking?”.
First was a Q and A with a panel of trainees. This gave a real insight into the cultures of firms as everyone was given a chance to compare the trainee's experiences. Several students had wanted to find out more about the ‘mysterious’ life of a trainee and whilst we did hear about long hours we also learnt about the excitement of challenging work with interesting colleagues.
After a lunch spent networking with the trainees everyone was divided into teams for a negotiation exercise led by HSF. We completed a mock M and A deal and tried to get the most favorable terms for our clients without alienating the other team. It was really helpful to receive feedback and guidance from trainees throughout. This was a fun way to engage in a situation which reflects aspects of working for a city law firm as well as being useful for assessment days.
After a tour of Freshfields, the last formal event was another Q and A panel on applications and interviews tips. The one thing that really came across was the importance of being yourself - honesty and enthusiasm can really make your application stand out. Before we all got back on the coach there was again time for some more informal networking over canapés and drinks.
We were all very fortunate to be invited to London and to be given the opportunity to get to explore the firms in depth. Applications can be daunting and the competition off-putting but CEPLER ‘Law in the City’ highlighted the positive attitude with which these challenges should be faced. One thing all the firms shared was a commitment to recruiting the best trainees, who as everyone knows come from Birmingham!
Everyone had a fantastic day and left feeling motivated, if a little tired from all the excitement. I suppose all that’s left is to actually knuckle down to applying before it’s too late.