My Training Contract Journey

Mohamed Ashour

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  • Oct 20, 2022
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    Hi @Mohamed Ashour

    I'd love to discuss any articles with you further. I'm happy to discuss it here or as a DM. My special interest is in energy and the environment, so perhaps we could help develop each other's knowledge in this area? I also totally agree with you on Truss paving the way for austerity and I'd be really happy to have a back and forth about that too. Perhaps we could arrange a video call to discuss it all and our journeys more generally?

    Thank you so much for your support in this post. It really gave me the boost I needed and I will definitely keep fighting for the goals I have set myself. I hope to hear of you VS and TC successes in the near future too!
    I'm definitely up for a video call to discuss a certain theme and our journeys so far! I'd be happy to do it this weekend if you can, just let me know!
    and you're welcome, we owe each other that level of support because most people don't understand the obstacles we face except us.
     
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    Mohamed Ashour

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  • Oct 20, 2022
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    Hi @AvniD

    Recession and Autumn Statement
    To understand how this will impact law firms and their clients, I think it is important to understand how this will affect individuals:
    • In general, those who are middle-class and earning money in the range of the tax brackets that have changed will be the most affected by the Autumn Statement.
    • The wealthiest individuals will be largely unaffected by the Autum Statement. Even though the amount of extra money they now owe the government has increased to a mind-boggling amount, it is still only a tiny fraction of their overall wealth.
    • The poorest individuals will be slightly better off due to the supports put in place by the government. These supports are not so substantial as to be likely to fundamentally change their spending habits.
    • Those who are renting are much worse off than those who own their house. Rent prices are rapidly increasing and people are likely to be priced out of areas that they live in.
    The impact this has on law firms is directly linked to how their clients will be affected:
    • The businesses that will likely be most affected are those who have products and services that are nice to have, but not essential (e.g. paid for streaming services, mid-tier retail, mid-tier restaurants). These businesses are likely to require financial help, and restructuring and insolvency advice. Law firm departments that deal with these issues and type of work can expect a busier period. They may also need to lay off staff, suspend pay raises, or suspend hiring to help with cash flow problems which will involve employment teams in law firms.
    • Budget products and services are likely to see a bit more consumer activity, this means that businesses may be stocking up on theses products or services. These decisions will largely be taken by management teams and are unlikely to involve law firm expertise, but it is important that law firms are boradly aware of these actions to help advise these businesses in the long term.
    • The very highest end products are unlikely to see a great change in consumer activity, so law firms advising on these are unlikely to be doing anything drastically differently.
    • With increases in rent and energy, some businesses may attempt to streamline their services. This could involve offloading any under-utlised office spaces and employing more of a hybrid or remote work environment. This will involve real estate teams and employment advice, especially if this changes the terms of any employment contracts.
      • As an aside, I read an article about how Musk's new work policy (i.e. you must work in an office) has been challenged by disabled workers who say the new policies are discriminatory. This may lead to litigation, so litigation teams and dispute resolution teams ought to be prepared for more work. Litigation is quite expensive, however, so for more sensible businesses, they may be even more proactive in staying away from litigation and focusing on broader dispute resolution for contentious issues.
    • Although renters are worse off than home-owners, many people will not be able to be in the privileged position of a homeowner as it requiires a lot of cash upfront. Furthermore, some people will have been forced to sell their home due to financial situations, but they will still need a place to live. Therefore, (despite the astronomical costs) people are more likely to be renting. This is an opportunity for real estate lawyers and landlords, especially as there may be situaions where people are unable to rent whole houses. This means more money for landlords and more work for real estate lawyers who may be in a situation where they are letting out rooms in houses of multiple occupancy rather than whole houses/flats.
    • Due to planned public spending cuts and historic wage stagnation in the public sector, there is likely to be strike action (as has already been happening). This will give work to firms that specialise in the public sector, and will specifically utilise employment teams. It is also an opportunity for those in the private sector. For example, many NHS workers have moved to agencies where they are paid better and have better benefits than the NHS. Every time there is a worker shortage in the NHS, these agency workers are brought in (at a crippling cost to the NHS) to maintain NHS services. Law firms could be involved in negotiating the contracts for bringing these workers into public entities.
    • There could be a potential for more M&A work for lawyers as foreign businesses, such as those in the US, look for opportunitties to purchase companies with a lot of potential for a cheap price. They may find that in the UK, so law firms with expertise in cross-border deals may see more work.
    I'm sure there are many other impacts and opportunities for clients/law firms, but these are the main ones I can think about. Thanks for steering me in a direction that helps me think about the importance this has to law firms, it has really helped me to think about the story more critically!

    Applications
    I have almost finished the application I started at the weekend. I plan to finish that today and then start work on the next one. The grind never stops! My NRF vacation scheme starts on 5th December and ends 16th December. In preparation:
    • I am researching the potential seats I will be sitting in (projects, corporate energy, or corporate life sciences). I want to make sure I am up to date on what these entail and what the firm has been doing in these areas.
    • I have a Google alert set for the firm so I stay up-to-date a bit more generally.
    • I have put together a bag, notebook and pen as well as questions I will ask myself at the end of each day to write up.
    • I am researching previous experiences of NRF vacation schemes.
    • I am keeping myself interview ready with my booklet and going through the TCLA question bank.
    I'm enjoying this so let me add some comments

    • when it comes to the hospitality industry it has been facing lots of pf pressure recently, some got away from covid but the fact that tourists will pay the VAT now which makes Milan and other European cities more attractive for shopping
    • Since many landlords would struggle in the next period, I read something for Watson's daily saying that investment firms could be increasing their investments in the real estate sector because prices would be much lower.
    • as for the massive layoffs from the big tech companies, we can very soon see class action suits against them, actually the class action business in the UK is now estimated at 2.7 bn right now (Bloomberg) so global disputes teams could see lots of work in this area!

    WE should this more often!
     
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    j.s.cox

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  • Jan 29, 2022
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    Update:

    Commercial Awareness Article
    I decided to write about the impact of Brexit on the London markets and trading. I think that as the urgency of the pandemic has died down a bit, the true impact of Brexit is revealing itself. I'll admit that I was never in favour of Brexit, so my views may be a little biased. I'm quite pragmatic, however, so I understand that rejoining the EU at this point would be unlikely to be helpful. The government does need to find a way to make the UK an attractive place for business again as we are seeing people and businesses move away from the UK.

    I also listened to an interesting podcast this morning (FT News Briefing) discussing deglobalisation. Essentially, they were saying that the only country that is really in the position to stop trading and 'deglobalise' is the US. Applying that to this story, the UK desperately needs to find more connections around the globe and with the EU if it wants to remain a financial powerhouse. It is important for us to have close connections to the EU in terms of trading, because many smaller businesses have existing clients in the EU and need to find a way to ensure those existing connections remain profitable.

    Targeted applications
    For the first time since I started my goals, I have fallen a little behind where I wanted to be at this stage. I still have plenty of time to get my applications in, but I just haven't got as far through the applications as I wanted to be. I'm giving myself a bit of grace because I have done pretty well so far. As long as I manage to get the applications in, I won't panic too much. Also, it is my main goal to convert my NRF vac scheme into a TC, so I have spent a lot of time preparing for this. Hopefully I won't have to be making more applications very soon!

    Thanks for following my journey!
     

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    j.s.cox

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  • Jan 29, 2022
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    Update:

    Collaboration
    Last week I managed to have a zoom call with @Mohamed Ashour. We discussed our journeys, interests and some commercial awareness topics. I really enjoyed bouncing ideas around and having a healthy debate, so this is something I definitely want to continue. I have always enjoyed collaborating with others and since completing the TCLA M&A course, I realise that it's because I enjoy finding synergies. I absolutely love the idea of individual parts being greater together than separated. Due to this, @Mohamed Ashour and myself were thinking of invitng other TCLA members to regularly meet up (virtually, and perhaps in the future, in person) to talk about journeys and commercial awareness topics. As a brief overview, we were thinking of having an overall theme to discuss at each meeting. I'd like to at least set up the bare bones of this before the new year - it's something Im'm really excited about!

    Commercial Awareness Competition
    Today I received an email saying that I did not make it to the final of the AS CAC. Here are my thoughts about this:
    • I'm so proud of myself for making it to the Semi-Finals! This was a tough thing to be able to do and it shows I am on the right track with commercial awareness. I'm clearly not at the highest standard as I didn't make the top 20%, but to even be in a position to be considered for that top 20% shows me that I'm doing the right things to improve my commercial awareness.
    • It's made my life logistically a lot easier to not have made the AS CAC Finals. My final TC interview at NRF is on the same day and now the clash is not something I have to worry about.
    • I'm pretty sure I fell down in my ability to work as a team. As I have mentioned, I usually love collaborating and working as a team, but I struggled to work well in the group I was put into on the day. I need to ensure that I am able to work a bit better with people who I find difficult to work with.
    • I am going to follow up and see if the judges could provide me with any feedback on my performance. I will use this feedback to try and improve my weaknesses so that I can develop into a top-knotch lawyer in the future.
    Targeted Applications
    I am back on track with these! It's made me feel a lot calmer and less frantic. My mantra to myself has been to have a bit more patience. Patience with myself and patience with the process. If I am desperate, I won't perform as well, so I just need to keep breathing and plugging along.

    NRF Vac Scheme
    I'm still ensuring that I am prepared for this. My birthday was on the weekend and my Mum got me a bag that I have been looking at for ages, so I have transferred all my things for the scheme into this nice, new, professional-looking bag (it's a Nordace Sienna for any curious people out there). I'm getting really excited for the scheme next week!!

    Thanks for following my journey!
     
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    AvniD

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    Oct 25, 2021
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    Update:

    Commercial Awareness Article
    I decided to write about the impact of Brexit on the London markets and trading. I think that as the urgency of the pandemic has died down a bit, the true impact of Brexit is revealing itself. I'll admit that I was never in favour of Brexit, so my views may be a little biased. I'm quite pragmatic, however, so I understand that rejoining the EU at this point would be unlikely to be helpful. The government does need to find a way to make the UK an attractive place for business again as we are seeing people and businesses move away from the UK.

    I also listened to an interesting podcast this morning (FT News Briefing) discussing deglobalisation. Essentially, they were saying that the only country that is really in the position to stop trading and 'deglobalise' is the US. Applying that to this story, the UK desperately needs to find more connections around the globe and with the EU if it wants to remain a financial powerhouse. It is important for us to have close connections to the EU in terms of trading, because many smaller businesses have existing clients in the EU and need to find a way to ensure those existing connections remain profitable.

    Targeted applications
    For the first time since I started my goals, I have fallen a little behind where I wanted to be at this stage. I still have plenty of time to get my applications in, but I just haven't got as far through the applications as I wanted to be. I'm giving myself a bit of grace because I have done pretty well so far. As long as I manage to get the applications in, I won't panic too much. Also, it is my main goal to convert my NRF vac scheme into a TC, so I have spent a lot of time preparing for this. Hopefully I won't have to be making more applications very soon!

    Thanks for following my journey!
    Well done on another week of being consistent with your commercial awareness! 👏 👏 👏

    I am a big fan of the FT News Briefing and am so happy to see it get some love here on the forum!

    For the Brexit article, were you able to find any information on what the UK government may be doing to push back against businesses repatriating or any new schemes they may have put into place to ensure that banks/companies/SIFIs have the incentive of staying put in London?
     

    AvniD

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    Oct 25, 2021
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    Update:

    Collaboration
    Last week I managed to have a zoom call with @Mohamed Ashour. We discussed our journeys, interests and some commercial awareness topics. I really enjoyed bouncing ideas around and having a healthy debate, so this is something I definitely want to continue. I have always enjoyed collaborating with others and since completing the TCLA M&A course, I realise that it's because I enjoy finding synergies. I absolutely love the idea of individual parts being greater together than separated. Due to this, @Mohamed Ashour and myself were thinking of invitng other TCLA members to regularly meet up (virtually, and perhaps in the future, in person) to talk about journeys and commercial awareness topics. As a brief overview, we were thinking of having an overall theme to discuss at each meeting. I'd like to at least set up the bare bones of this before the new year - it's something Im'm really excited about!

    Commercial Awareness Competition
    Today I received an email saying that I did not make it to the final of the AS CAC. Here are my thoughts about this:
    • I'm so proud of myself for making it to the Semi-Finals! This was a tough thing to be able to do and it shows I am on the right track with commercial awareness. I'm clearly not at the highest standard as I didn't make the top 20%, but to even be in a position to be considered for that top 20% shows me that I'm doing the right things to improve my commercial awareness.
    • It's made my life logistically a lot easier to not have made the AS CAC Finals. My final TC interview at NRF is on the same day and now the clash is not something I have to worry about.
    • I'm pretty sure I fell down in my ability to work as a team. As I have mentioned, I usually love collaborating and working as a team, but I struggled to work well in the group I was put into on the day. I need to ensure that I am able to work a bit better with people who I find difficult to work with.
    • I am going to follow up and see if the judges could provide me with any feedback on my performance. I will use this feedback to try and improve my weaknesses so that I can develop into a top-knotch lawyer in the future.
    Targeted Applications
    I am back on track with these! It's made me feel a lot calmer and less frantic. My mantra to myself has been to have a bit more patience. Patience with myself and patience with the process. If I am desperate, I won't perform as well, so I just need to keep breathing and plugging along.

    NRF Vac Scheme
    I'm still ensuring that I am prepared for this. My birthday was on the weekend and my Mum got me a bag that I have been looking at for ages, so I have transferred all my things for the scheme into this nice, new, professional-looking bag (it's a Nordace Sienna for any curious people out there). I'm getting really excited for the scheme next week!!

    Thanks for following my journey!
    Congratulations on making it to the semis of the AS CAC- you are right, this is definitely something to be SUPER proud of! I hope you're updating your CV to reflect your achievement ASAP! 👏👏👏

    Patience with targeted applications really is key- there is a lot of seemingly passive effort that goes into making applications (brainstorming, reading up, rethinking an answer etc, proofreading etc.) that really isn't given enough credit. Take your time, let your process come through to carry you and you will make it exactly when you need to. Trust yourself!

    All the best for the NRF vac scheme! The backpack is such a thoughtful gift from your mum- I'm sure it'll bring you some good energy on your scheme 😊
     

    j.s.cox

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  • Jan 29, 2022
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    169
    Well done on another week of being consistent with your commercial awareness! 👏 👏 👏

    I am a big fan of the FT News Briefing and am so happy to see it get some love here on the forum!

    For the Brexit article, were you able to find any information on what the UK government may be doing to push back against businesses repatriating or any new schemes they may have put into place to ensure that banks/companies/SIFIs have the incentive of staying put in London?
    Thanks for this @AvniD!

    I read an article this morning saying that the UK will be relaxing the ringfencing of banks with retail and investment arms, which was introduced after the 2008 financial crisis. Ringfencing will stay in place for the biggest investment banks (e.g. Barclays, HSCBC, NatWest, Lloyds), but relax significantly for other big banks (e.g. Santander UK,, Virgin Money, TSB Bank). This reform is particularly significant as some of the big banks who will benefit from the relaxation of ringfencing rules are foreign owned and this keeps the UK an attractive place to continue doing business. This reform has come after a review led by Keith Skeoch.

    There have also been reviews in other areas, for example, a UK fintech market review led by Ron Kalifa, and a UK listings review by Jonathan Hill. I think the UK government will be looking at these reviews very carefully to see where they can implement any recommendations to remain an attractive place to stay and invest. I do think that there is an upward battle ahead as the EU is similarly looking to make itself a more attractive place.

    Whilst I'm here, I'd also like to say that I'm absolutely delighted to have won 6-months free TCLA Premium (Bronze) through my updates on this thread. This is going to make such a difference to my journey to a TC and I will be sure to utilise it fully!
     

    AvniD

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    Oct 25, 2021
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    Thanks for this @AvniD!

    I read an article this morning saying that the UK will be relaxing the ringfencing of banks with retail and investment arms, which was introduced after the 2008 financial crisis. Ringfencing will stay in place for the biggest investment banks (e.g. Barclays, HSCBC, NatWest, Lloyds), but relax significantly for other big banks (e.g. Santander UK,, Virgin Money, TSB Bank). This reform is particularly significant as some of the big banks who will benefit from the relaxation of ringfencing rules are foreign owned and this keeps the UK an attractive place to continue doing business. This reform has come after a review led by Keith Skeoch.

    There have also been reviews in other areas, for example, a UK fintech market review led by Ron Kalifa, and a UK listings review by Jonathan Hill. I think the UK government will be looking at these reviews very carefully to see where they can implement any recommendations to remain an attractive place to stay and invest. I do think that there is an upward battle ahead as the EU is similarly looking to make itself a more attractive place.

    Whilst I'm here, I'd also like to say that I'm absolutely delighted to have won 6-months free TCLA Premium (Bronze) through my updates on this thread. This is going to make such a difference to my journey to a TC and I will be sure to utilise it fully!
    Amazing @j.s.cox! Very happy to see you apply your commercial awareness holistically. Adopting a wide perspective is key and this will undoubtedly help you stand out. You're spot on in your analysis of the efforts the British government is making to keep banks in the UK.

    Congratulations on the winning the competition- you absolutely deserved it! 👏👏👏
     

    Mohamed Ashour

    Star Member
    Gold Member
    Premium Member
  • Oct 20, 2022
    31
    56
    Update:

    Collaboration
    Last week I managed to have a zoom call with @Mohamed Ashour. We discussed our journeys, interests and some commercial awareness topics. I really enjoyed bouncing ideas around and having a healthy debate, so this is something I definitely want to continue. I have always enjoyed collaborating with others and since completing the TCLA M&A course, I realise that it's because I enjoy finding synergies. I absolutely love the idea of individual parts being greater together than separated. Due to this, @Mohamed Ashour and myself were thinking of invitng other TCLA members to regularly meet up (virtually, and perhaps in the future, in person) to talk about journeys and commercial awareness topics. As a brief overview, we were thinking of having an overall theme to discuss at each meeting. I'd like to at least set up the bare bones of this before the new year - it's something Im'm really excited about!

    Commercial Awareness Competition
    Today I received an email saying that I did not make it to the final of the AS CAC. Here are my thoughts about this:
    • I'm so proud of myself for making it to the Semi-Finals! This was a tough thing to be able to do and it shows I am on the right track with commercial awareness. I'm clearly not at the highest standard as I didn't make the top 20%, but to even be in a position to be considered for that top 20% shows me that I'm doing the right things to improve my commercial awareness.
    • It's made my life logistically a lot easier to not have made the AS CAC Finals. My final TC interview at NRF is on the same day and now the clash is not something I have to worry about.
    • I'm pretty sure I fell down in my ability to work as a team. As I have mentioned, I usually love collaborating and working as a team, but I struggled to work well in the group I was put into on the day. I need to ensure that I am able to work a bit better with people who I find difficult to work with.
    • I am going to follow up and see if the judges could provide me with any feedback on my performance. I will use this feedback to try and improve my weaknesses so that I can develop into a top-knotch lawyer in the future.
    Targeted Applications
    I am back on track with these! It's made me feel a lot calmer and less frantic. My mantra to myself has been to have a bit more patience. Patience with myself and patience with the process. If I am desperate, I won't perform as well, so I just need to keep breathing and plugging along.

    NRF Vac Scheme
    I'm still ensuring that I am prepared for this. My birthday was on the weekend and my Mum got me a bag that I have been looking at for ages, so I have transferred all my things for the scheme into this nice, new, professional-looking bag (it's a Nordace Sienna for any curious people out there). I'm getting really excited for the scheme next week!!

    Thanks for following my journey!
    @j.s.cox It was an exciting call, such level of collaboration between applicants or students is essential. each of us has his own perspective on different matters and current issues concerning commercial awareness or law firm research, sharing these ideas and perspectives would give us the edge in our journeys exactly what TCLA is made for in the first place!
    Would love to it again!
    and Happy Birthday!
     
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    aniraz

    Active Member
    Oct 14, 2022
    14
    12
    Update:

    Collaboration
    Last week I managed to have a zoom call with @Mohamed Ashour. We discussed our journeys, interests and some commercial awareness topics. I really enjoyed bouncing ideas around and having a healthy debate, so this is something I definitely want to continue. I have always enjoyed collaborating with others and since completing the TCLA M&A course, I realise that it's because I enjoy finding synergies. I absolutely love the idea of individual parts being greater together than separated. Due to this, @Mohamed Ashour and myself were thinking of invitng other TCLA members to regularly meet up (virtually, and perhaps in the future, in person) to talk about journeys and commercial awareness topics. As a brief overview, we were thinking of having an overall theme to discuss at each meeting. I'd like to at least set up the bare bones of this before the new year - it's something Im'm really excited about!

    Commercial Awareness Competition
    Today I received an email saying that I did not make it to the final of the AS CAC. Here are my thoughts about this:
    • I'm so proud of myself for making it to the Semi-Finals! This was a tough thing to be able to do and it shows I am on the right track with commercial awareness. I'm clearly not at the highest standard as I didn't make the top 20%, but to even be in a position to be considered for that top 20% shows me that I'm doing the right things to improve my commercial awareness.
    • It's made my life logistically a lot easier to not have made the AS CAC Finals. My final TC interview at NRF is on the same day and now the clash is not something I have to worry about.
    • I'm pretty sure I fell down in my ability to work as a team. As I have mentioned, I usually love collaborating and working as a team, but I struggled to work well in the group I was put into on the day. I need to ensure that I am able to work a bit better with people who I find difficult to work with.
    • I am going to follow up and see if the judges could provide me with any feedback on my performance. I will use this feedback to try and improve my weaknesses so that I can develop into a top-knotch lawyer in the future.
    Targeted Applications
    I am back on track with these! It's made me feel a lot calmer and less frantic. My mantra to myself has been to have a bit more patience. Patience with myself and patience with the process. If I am desperate, I won't perform as well, so I just need to keep breathing and plugging along.

    NRF Vac Scheme
    I'm still ensuring that I am prepared for this. My birthday was on the weekend and my Mum got me a bag that I have been looking at for ages, so I have transferred all my things for the scheme into this nice, new, professional-looking bag (it's a Nordace Sienna for any curious people out there). I'm getting really excited for the scheme next week!!

    Thanks for following my journey!
    I just read through your whole thread and I found it so inspiring. I was so tense reading through hoping that you would get a vac scheme and was so happy when I saw that you did!! You should be so proud of yourself for the AS CAC, I can't imagine how much those insensitive comments made by D would have affected you and you still did extremely well to get to the semi-finals. I wanted to write a message and say, going into the NRF scheme on Monday, please remember that you 10000% deserve to be there, you are so talented and as long as you be yourself, you will get that TC offer. And if your present your best self and don't get one, you know that it isn't the best firm for you and you will find something better!
     
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    j.s.cox

    Distinguished Member
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  • Jan 29, 2022
    74
    169
    Update:

    Commercial Awareness Article
    I started writing this last week, but ended up not finishing due to a trip north and preparation for the NRF Vac Scheme. I still want to finish writing this at a later date, perhaps later this week. I was going to write about CEPI's blueprint for vaccine production within 100 days, which is game changing in the healthcare and pharmaceutical talent. Keep an eye out for the article later this week!

    Wobble
    I had a really rough journey back from my trip up north. It was raining very hard and there were several accidents that happened right in front of me. As one of these accidents happened, I had to slam on the brakes so hard that one of the back seats fell forward. As I did this, I noticed a big truck behind me which only just managed to stop before hitting me. It really shook me up and I didn't want that to affect my performance on the VS, so I made sure to try and do some mindfullness exercises and not to push it to the back of my mind. I wanted to sort out any lingering feelings of discomfort before they could have an impact on my performance. Hopefully, I've done that.

    NRF Vacation Scheme
    Today was the first day of the Norton Rose Fulbright Winter Vacation Scheme! Whilst I do the scheme I want to write a log of the things I get up to and my feelings about it. I think I'll write about most of it here, although I will obviously not be able to go into too much detail due to confidentiality. I have created a separate work log to write about the tasks in more detail in preparation for the partner interview at the end of next week.

    General Feelings:
    I absolutely love this firm! The second I walked into the office, I felt like I was at home. It's a feeling I've not had at any other firm and hopefully it bodes well. I just felt so comfortable throughout the day and I got on with everyone so well.

    Timetable:
    Today our day was full of sessions to attend rather than any actual work shadowing. This was partly because most people in the office work in the office between Tuesday-Thursday, and partly to ease us into the scheme.
    • We started off with breakfast and a welcome from the early careers team and two graduate partners. We were also able to ask questions during these sessions.
    • We followed this with an ice-breaker. This was very relaxed and just a chance to get to know other people on the scheme. The questions were a bit strange:
      • If you were an animal, what would you be?
      • If you were in a house fire, what would you save?
      • What's the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
    • We then went for a group photo before having lunch with our trainee buddies. My buddy is really lovely and I can't wait to start working with her!
    • After lunch we had an IT training session and got all of our IT equipment for the scheme.
    • Our last session of the day was with early careers who gave us tips about how to do well on the vacation scheme. It was honestly more of a pep talk than anything else. Their advice:
      • We have had over 1,000 applications for this scheme alone, so you are amazing to be in the 17 people picked for the scheme.
      • Keep doing what you have been doing.
      • Make sure you understand the why you are doing the piece of work and what its context is in the bigger picture.
      • They are judging us equally based on our real work, individual assessments, group assessment, and final interview.
      • They are looking for: intellectual curiosity, intellect and analytical ability, commercial awareness, interpersonal skills, teamwork.
    • Finally, my trainee buddy gave me a quick tour of the floor I will be working on this week and introduced me to a few friendly faces.
    Overall, it was a really good day and I can't wait to go back tomorrow to start some real work!

    Thanks for following my journey!
     

    AvniD

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    Update:

    Commercial Awareness Article
    I started writing this last week, but ended up not finishing due to a trip north and preparation for the NRF Vac Scheme. I still want to finish writing this at a later date, perhaps later this week. I was going to write about CEPI's blueprint for vaccine production within 100 days, which is game changing in the healthcare and pharmaceutical talent. Keep an eye out for the article later this week!

    Wobble
    I had a really rough journey back from my trip up north. It was raining very hard and there were several accidents that happened right in front of me. As one of these accidents happened, I had to slam on the brakes so hard that one of the back seats fell forward. As I did this, I noticed a big truck behind me which only just managed to stop before hitting me. It really shook me up and I didn't want that to affect my performance on the VS, so I made sure to try and do some mindfullness exercises and not to push it to the back of my mind. I wanted to sort out any lingering feelings of discomfort before they could have an impact on my performance. Hopefully, I've done that.

    NRF Vacation Scheme
    Today was the first day of the Norton Rose Fulbright Winter Vacation Scheme! Whilst I do the scheme I want to write a log of the things I get up to and my feelings about it. I think I'll write about most of it here, although I will obviously not be able to go into too much detail due to confidentiality. I have created a separate work log to write about the tasks in more detail in preparation for the partner interview at the end of next week.

    General Feelings:
    I absolutely love this firm! The second I walked into the office, I felt like I was at home. It's a feeling I've not had at any other firm and hopefully it bodes well. I just felt so comfortable throughout the day and I got on with everyone so well.

    Timetable:
    Today our day was full of sessions to attend rather than any actual work shadowing. This was partly because most people in the office work in the office between Tuesday-Thursday, and partly to ease us into the scheme.
    • We started off with breakfast and a welcome from the early careers team and two graduate partners. We were also able to ask questions during these sessions.
    • We followed this with an ice-breaker. This was very relaxed and just a chance to get to know other people on the scheme. The questions were a bit strange:
      • If you were an animal, what would you be?
      • If you were in a house fire, what would you save?
      • What's the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
    • We then went for a group photo before having lunch with our trainee buddies. My buddy is really lovely and I can't wait to start working with her!
    • After lunch we had an IT training session and got all of our IT equipment for the scheme.
    • Our last session of the day was with early careers who gave us tips about how to do well on the vacation scheme. It was honestly more of a pep talk than anything else. Their advice:
      • We have had over 1,000 applications for this scheme alone, so you are amazing to be in the 17 people picked for the scheme.
      • Keep doing what you have been doing.
      • Make sure you understand the why you are doing the piece of work and what its context is in the bigger picture.
      • They are judging us equally based on our real work, individual assessments, group assessment, and final interview.
      • They are looking for: intellectual curiosity, intellect and analytical ability, commercial awareness, interpersonal skills, teamwork.
    • Finally, my trainee buddy gave me a quick tour of the floor I will be working on this week and introduced me to a few friendly faces.
    Overall, it was a really good day and I can't wait to go back tomorrow to start some real work!

    Thanks for following my journey!
    Very sorry to hear that you had a rough trip to London- these experiences can impact you more especially since you're already at a baseline level of stress and anxiety. I'm hoping this was the only bump in an otherwise great few weeks ahead 🤞🤞

    The icebreaker sounds interesting- I've never been asked those questions and I feel like I'd probably give really inane answers under pressure 😅

    I think they gave you some really sound advice on how to perform well on the scheme, I'm gonna bookmark this for any future candidates who are curious about how to do well at an NRF scheme, or a vac scheme more generally!

    All the best for the rest of the scheme! 😊
     
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    j.s.cox

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    Norton Rose Fulbright Vacation Scheme Day 2

    Presentation Skills
    We started the day with a workshop on how to improve our presentation skills. I'm assuming this is in preparation for the group exercise we have on Friday, although it was a useful workshop regardless. My key takeaways:
    • Plan, Prepare, Practice, Present - if you go through these steps, you should be able to have a good presentation.
    • Structure your presentation so that you:
      • 1. Say what you are going to tell the audience.
      • 2. Tell them.
      • 3. Tell the audience what you told them.
    • Repetition is useful. Ensure you are only giving the audience 3-5 key takeaway points.
    • Put impact in your presentation. This can be in the form of a rhetorical question, a dramatic pause, or the way you say certain words among other strategies.
    • Body language is key and accounts for 55% of the impact of your presentation. Open, confident body language is best (try to think about taking the most space you can).
    • Give the audience an idea of how you will be structuring the presentation at the start of the presentation. For example, let them know if they can ask questions throughout the presentation or if they should wait until the end to ask questions.
    • Finish with a bang. This can be an impactful statement or a call to action.
    • Remember who your audience is and what you are trying to achieve with your presentation.

    Work Shadowing
    Now for the bit I was most looking forward to/dreading! As soon as I arrived in my team, my trainee buddy gave me some work to do. A client wanted some original documents, so I was shown how to find the appropriate documents, how to check they were the correct version, and how to use software that is used for a conditions precedent ("CP") check. There were far more documents than I thought there would be, so I had to create an organisation system to keep track of them all. Although this was a fairly procedural task, I really enjoyed it as I got a chance to see the types of documents needed in a CP check.

    I also got a chance to read through a facilities agreement. It was really hefty and my supervisor said that a quick turnaround time for a document of this type was around 4-6 weeks if negotiations went smoothly. Having seen the size of the document, I'm surprised it doesn't take longer!

    I was also sent a piece of work to read ahead of day 3, when I would be briefed on what was required in more detail. I'm looking forward to this.

    Lessons from today:
    • Partner time is golden. Make sure you have looked up how to do something/what something means before you ask a partner for help.
    • Offering to help with menial work is really appreciated. I get to learn something, and fee-earners get to spend their time better.
    • Seek connections with people in the team other than your supervisor and trainee buddy.

    Coffee Catch Ups
    I have only done this within my team so far. I'd like to branch out into other teams throughout the scheme, however. Over lunch, I got to talk to 3yr PQ associate who was so lovely! I got on so well with members of the team and it was nice to find out more about them and the work that they do. My trainee buddy has said that she will take me around some of the departments she knows as well.

    Team Christmas Party
    Now for the reason I am writing this on the train on day 3 instead of at the end of day 2. My team invited myself and the other vacation scheme student sat in the same department to their team Christmas party after work. I felt so lucky to be able to do something like that on my second day and I got to meet so many new people. It was a good opportunity to find some more connections who I feel I could approach to seek out more work. It did mean that I left very late though!

    Thanks for following my journey!
     
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    j.s.cox

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    Norton Rose Fulbright Vacation Scheme Day 3:

    Vac Scheme Cohort
    My vacation scheme cohort have been amazing. We are trying hard to include each other, support each other, stay in contact with each other. One of the things this has been invaluable for is reaching out to partners and associates in other departments. We have tried to help each other arrange coffee catch ups with different departments and give the names of people it would be appropriate to reach out to. We had a social this evening at the underground cooking school (which was amazing, and I highly recommend this) and we were commenting on how well we all got on with each other. We come from such different backgrounds, but it is surprisingly easy to get into a deep conversation with each person on the scheme. I genuinely hope that we are all able to convert the VS into TCs because I have enjoyed being around everyone so much. I also think that this is reflective of the firm as a whole.

    We have all made a big effort to try and have our lunch together in the cafeteria and we have a WhatsApp group which we use to stay in contact with each other throughout the day.

    The Office
    I would just like to take a moment of appreciation for the office. I reckon it has the best view in the whole of London. Situated on the south of the river between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, it has a view of the city, the river, the two bridges, and the Christmas lights and market which are just outside the office. I went for a chat with an associate to discuss a certain deal and I was taken aback by the view. I don't think it is something you could ever get used to!

    Work
    Today I worked on proof-reading a memo written by people outside of NRF London and flagging up some issues contained within it. I thought I was being really silly, but it turns out that even my Supervising Partner and Associate were very confused by the meaning of some of the things contained within the memo. I sent back a marked up copy to the appropriate person, and I'm hoping to attend a call that will clarify the meaning of some things written in the document. I'm pleased by the things I was able to pick up on, and I'm hoping that it all makes sense soon.

    After I finished my task on the memo, I was given a task which involved research of companies within certain parameters. I was not entirely certain about how to go about this research, so I reached out to the knowledge team (essentially a mini library) and asked if they were aware of any resources that I could use to help me. It turns out that they were able to do the entire search for me, meaning that I would only have to cross-reference the data and do a little more research. It was such a massive help and made my task a lot easier. It really made me appreciate the teams that support lawyers a lot more.

    Other than these two pieces of work, nobody in the office was able to give me anything to do. The problem was that everyone was very busy, but in the time it would take them to hand over the work, they could finish the work more quickly. Although this was annoying, I used this opportunity to reach out to people in the firm that I wanted to talk to a bit more. Hopefully I'll be able to arrange a few coffee catch ups this way and learn more about different practice areas.

    Islamic Finance
    Talking about coffee catch ups, myself and another vacation scheme participant were able to land a chat with a partner who had ample experience in Islamic Finance. Although I am not a Muslim, I was very curious as to how Islamic Finance works when they have their own rules against accepting interest etc. I did not understand how you could then use debt financing to finance a project. The partner explained to us that Islamic Finance was, at its simplest, a form of structured financing. One way this could work was that instead of getting a loan off Person B for an asset, Person B acts as an agent who holds the asset for you. So instead of paying £500 + 10% interest, you pay £550 in regular installments. There is essentially no material difference between these two methods, except in their structure. Profit is okay, but interest is not. It got a bit more complicated than this, but it was definitely a really interesting chat to have, and I appreciated the time the partner took out of his day to speak to us.

    Learning by Osmosis
    Firstly, I'd like to say that I hate this phrase. Osmosis is specifically to do with water, so it should be "learning though diffusion", but unfortunately this phrase is used enough that it makes sense in itself. I digress. I've learned a lot from being in the office. I listen to associates talk to my trainee buddy and give her tips, and I'm able to listen in on calls. I've genuinely found it so useful. My trainee buddy also shows me handy things that she is working on. For example, today she was given a research task by her supervisor, and she showed me how she structured the information differently to the supervisor and to the client. There are strikes next week that will make coming into the office very difficult, but I would still like to find my way in to be able to benefit from this. Of course I am hoping to gain a TC after this VS, but if that doesn't happen, I want to have received the full benefit of being accepted onto this vacation scheme.

    Feedback
    Today I received feedback from my assessment centre. I had been so worried about my performance in the group negotiation, but it turns out that it was nothing to worry about at all. I did really well. The person marking had noticed that I worked well with my partner and responded to comments she made. I was adaptable and accepted a less favourable term for the client in the interest of being able to reach an agreement (this was something I thought was a bad thing, but the person marking had flagged it as good). She was also impressed that I was able to bring in my own knowledge to boost my argument.

    For the case study, I also had largely positive feedback. There was a comment that I could possibly have structured some parts a little bit better, but it was noted that when a follow up question was asked, I answered in a much better way.

    For the partner interview, I think they were more than generous. One of the key comments was that I remained very calm under pressure when they began pressing me on certain issues. They really enjoyed talking to me and they said that I would be an excellent candidate for the VS. Honestly, it was such a good pep talk going into our first individual assessment tomorrow.

    General Thoughts
    So far, I am really enjoying this scheme. I really hope that I get the TC, because this is definitely a place that I see myself working and thriving in. The thing that has surprised me the most is the people. It's like the whole firm is full of people who are completely on my wavelength, which is definitely not something I have experienced before!

    Thanks for following my journey!
     
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