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documenting my life, thoughts and tips, one ramble at a time...

Friday, March 02, 2012

CityLaw Live

It is 6.00am, on a cold and bleak Saturday morning. Why am I up, I hear you cry? ... For CityLaw Live of course! A truly inspirational event in the heart of London for partners, trainees, graduate recruitment personnel and students to come together, network, eat (some of the best cookies I have ever tasted may I add) and learn. 

My day started slowly, I was tired but excited to be meeting my potential boss. I caught the 7.35am to London St Pancreas International and took the Circle Line to Westminster. I was extremely nervous to be meeting and interacting with all the sponsors and professionals that were tipped to be attending this event. After all they had already secured their place as a successful City Lawyer, a goal I dream to achieve in the future. 

After getting lost and having to ask a police officer where 'One Great George Street' was, to which he helpfully pointed out was the big, red building right in front of me, I had made it, 15 minutes early. The venue was beautiful, featuring impressive pictures, staircases and a beautiful chandelier. However, despite it's picturesque scenery, I found the venue quite overwhelming, so on arrival it was nice to meet students who felt the same mixture of anxiety and excitement.

The day started with a warm cuppa and the aforementioned delicious cookies and a welcome talk from the event organiser Anna Williams. Next, a truly inspirational talk from keynote speaker Robert Sutton, a former senior partner at Macfarlanes LLP. Mr Sutton discussed the debatable topic of whether there was a future for City Law firms (CLF), what CLFs do, what type of CLF is right for you and how Partners and Trainees work together. 

Despite the long and unpredictable hours Mr Sutton discussed, the positives he discussed as well such as diversity of work, CLFs being free of internal competition that commonly exist in careers such as investment banking and a strong motivational team. It was the beginning of the day but Mr Sutton's speech had already confirmed my desire to work within a successful, international CLF.

As the day progress the quality of talks, information and advice followed on from such a high. The panel discussions focused the law firm as a business and life as a City lawyer and the ever depleting demand for trainees in the future. Anthony Kenny who is European Counsel at The Boston Consulting Group, who gave a talk about life as a in-house lawyer, a refreshing change to protocol, without which would have rendered the event very one dimensional.

After Lunch I networked with Trainees, Partners and Recruitment Consultants, who gave me invaluable advice on how to make my CV pop and attract the eyes of the recruitment 
I attended Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP CV surgery presented by Jessica Booker, Trainee Recruitment Manager, who also gave me and the other delegates, frank and helpful advice on how to tailor your CV to show to the firm you are applying, to why you are worthy of them spending around £250,000 to train you to become a solicitor. From this session I learnt that many CLFs despise the word 'relish', or the typical sentence "I have the invaluable skills that a successful CityLaw Firm needs". My advice to the student population, stay away from these cliché phrases! 

Following the surgery I then attended Herbert Smith's LLP workshop- Working in disputes. This workshop gave me the ability to use my skills as a Mediator to tackle a problem question and to discuss the complexity of these issues with Partner Alexander Oddy and Trainee Xanthe Woodhead in order to attain the best possible solution for our fictional client. I soon realised that the 'best' solution is not always the best solution, comprises have to me made.

'The Big Discussion' ended the informative day. Issues such as when best to submit your applications, when the submission window is open for an average of seven months (the answer give by Justine Thompson, Graduate Recruitment and Development Manager at Baker and McKenzie LLP, was between the first 2/3s) and how to impress in your applications forms and how not to impress: misspelling of the Firm's name, your own name (yes the panelists stated that this does on occasions occur) or grammatical errors will undoubtedly result in rejection.

Overall, the event, its sponsors, guest speakers and firm representatives were of exceptional quality and the information gained from the experience was invaluable. My decision to study Law and pursue a career in the City as a Solicitor has been cemented. A life in the City, the thrill of a finalising a deal and the confidence of being able to talk and advise clients who depend on you excites me. I look forward to next year's event and to drafting, editing, re-editing and sending  out my application forms in the upcoming months. 

Fingers, toes and eyebrows crossed!

Yours Faithfully,
Roshanne


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