There are Always Bumps in The Road, But There is a Destination at the End- With a Future Trainee at Clifford Chance

Welcome back everyone to our series of interviews with future trainee solicitors. In our second article today, we have the fantastic opportunity to hear from Lucy, a future trainee at Clifford Chance.

1. Who is your training contract with?

Clifford Chance

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


3. Which university did you attend?

The University of Exeter

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

Currently, I am in my final year studying LLB Law. I went straight into university from sixth form and secured my training contract in my penultimate year after virtual summer vacation scheme.

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

I always thought I wanted to be a family lawyer, but when I started attending networking events in my first year of university, I realised that the larger city firms were more attractive to me. I was drawn in by the clients and large-scale work that the firms were doing. I then sought experience in commercial private practice and in-house, and really enjoyed the varied nature of the work and problem solving in a team.

6. How many applications did you send?


7. How many interviews/offers did you receive?

3 interviews, 3 offers

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

At the start, I researched and created a list of firms, and then I created a mind-map of my CV that had my experiences and the skills I gained from them. This was really helpful as a starting board for my applications. I then focused on one application at a time and kept researching as I went along. I'd spend 2-3 weeks on each one, submit it, and move on. I prioritised the earlier deadlines or the ones that were rolling.

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

Yes - I initially thought that all my research would be complete at the start, but in my opinion, you can never be fully researched before you start writing. Sometimes you hit a point where you've spoken about your experience i.e. presenting on law to school children, and you try and link this to the firm. So, you look up the firm and discover they have a pro bono project where they go into schools. There's the link. But you may not have written it down during the initial research phase.

10. How did you develop your commercial awareness?

I listen to Radio 4 in the morning as I'm getting ready for the day and signed up to a couple of commercial awareness briefings that were specifically targeted for law. I also listened to podcasts such as The Commercial Awareness Podcast and Think Commercial.

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

Be yourself and be a nice person. A huge part of the interview process is working out if you're a good fit for the firm (which goes both ways), so remain authentic. Also show your interviewer that if they were to have you in their team, you'd be easy to get along with - working relationships are really important and it's important that you'll fit into the environment.

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

Think of the pros and cons to everything. If you're giving advice, make sure you understand the drawbacks of that, but ultimately why your conclusion is the best option.

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

I was rejected from my first application. It was the only one I had sent at the time and it suddenly dawned on me that it might not be the last rejection either! Mentally, I dealt with this by closing the door on the firm - they didn't know my face, they've never spoken to me in person - all they know is 500 words on an application form. Move on, work hard on the others, and the right firm comes along at the right time!

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

I wouldn't change anything!

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?

Keep going! I never thought I'd end up where I have. There are always bumps in the road, but there is a destination at the end. Just keep going.
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