Network and Network Well- With a Future Trainee at Clyde & Co

Welcome back everyone to our series of interviews with future trainee solicitors. In our final article today, we have the fantastic opportunity to hear from a future trainee at Clyde & Co.

1. Who is your training contract with?

Clyde & Co

2. Are you a law or non-law candidate?


3. Which university did you attend?

University of Manchester

4. Please could you tell us more about your background and current stage?

I am an international student who studied geography at university. I was convinced that I would go into academia or something “quiet” because I was always told that professions like the law were just not for people like me. I started working with the Civil Service and realised that the legal work they were doing with commercial organisations was incredibly interesting and started my journey there. I’m currently studying my GDL at the University of Law.

5. When and why did you decide to apply to commercial law?

I decided in between my second and third year of my non-law degree. I always knew I wanted to work in a commercial space and applied to lots of consulting and banking grad schemes. Part of my degree was also looking into organisations which I loved. I loved the fast pace, the intensity, and the fact that I could have an impact on so many different aspects. It’s a lot like how my brain works, and the commercial environment specifically fit that quite well. Once I actually started talking to people in other commercial spaces, I also realised that I wanted to help clients in a more long-lasting way and build relationships, instead of short projects in consulting. After a lot of talking to people and getting some experience, I took the plunge.

6. How many applications did you send?

4 vacation scheme applications, 3 training contract applications

7. How many interviews/offers did you receive?

2 interviews, 1 offer

8. How did you go about the application process? Did you map an application strategy?

I didn’t have a strategy for my initial vacation scheme process, I kind of applied pretty randomly at first. Then I realised that personal insight mattered a lot and I actively had to select and understand where and why I applied.

9. Did you change your strategy during the application process and, if so, what did you change?

I changed drastically after my first few applications. I had a massive tracker on Notion that I used to track firm news, applications, and any insights I got from virtual events or one on one messages from LinkedIn.

10. How did you develop your commercial awareness?

I used podcasts such as Watson’s Daily and Little Law. I like short briefings every day and then I try and read a more detailed piece from the FT once a week or so to get a better picture.

11. What is your best advice for succeeding at the interview stage?

Be a human being! I’ve done loads of mock interviews for other people and the biggest thing that stands out is how stiff and robotic people can be, especially in answering questions that you might not have prepared for. For both in-person and online interviews, the best way I prep right before is by recording myself talking about something I’m really passionate about (I talk about costumes in films- don’t ask). When you look back at that recording, you can observe your body language when you’re enthusiastic. Take note of what you do and take that same energy into your interview.

12. What is your best advice for case study interviews?

Don’t get flustered if they keep questioning you. When I’d briefed the associate about my findings from the case study, they kept asking if there was “anything else”. I stood my ground and told them that although there could be something I might have missed, this time, I’d done a comprehensive look. Turns out- I hadn’t missed anything, and the fact that I didn’t second guess myself stood out!

13. What was the biggest setback you encountered during your journey to a training contract? How did you deal with it?

Being from a non-law background with no law friends. I had absolutely no idea how the legal process worked and was so insecure about the fact that I thought I had nothing to offer because of my academic background and that I didn’t have vacation schemes and internships at law firms, but instead at a mix of commercial and non-commercial spaces. I still get instances of imposter syndrome but what helped me is recognising that my degree gave me an incredible leg-up. Doing geography, I was comfortable dealing with scientific data and lab reports, being out in the field but also reading lots for humanities, which meant that I could work in more technical areas of law but also communicate the complexity quite well. Especially now, non-law students and non-law work experience is being seen at par as legal work experience. Really highlight the skills you have from those instead of worrying about not having the legal background.

14. If there was anything you would do differently, what would it be?

Be more organised! I learnt so much between applying for my first few vacation schemes, the second round and my training contract applications in terms of depth over breadth. If you’re used to applying in other sectors, this is a difficult mindset shift, but 100% necessary.

15. What is the best piece of advice you can give to future applicants? Do you have any advice for individuals who might’ve been in a similar position to you?

Network, and network well. Probably the most important thing that helped me get my offer was the fact that I talked to people with a similar background and in the firm I wanted to work with on LinkedIn and I wanted to form a genuine connection with them (instead of just hounding them to read my CV). I only really needed two people, but the insight they gave me was better than any law fair or virtual event could into my dream firm.