University: University of Birmingham
Degree: LLB for Graduates
Prior to completing my law degree in the UK, I lived in New York and attended Binghamton University. There I played NCAA college basketball and did a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. Coming from a life sciences background, I was initally drawn to the legal aspects surrounding the patenting of new drugs and the regulatory issues that are associated with the shift to personalised medicine. It wasn't long before I realised that I could not only utilise my life sciences degree in my legal career, but that it was actually highly sought after. Attending several open day events solidified my interest in pursuing a career in law.
Why Taylor Wessing?
After speaking to many trainees at various firms, it became clear to me that it is often the case that future trainees will have a very strong preference for a specific practice area. However, it is quite rare that they actually end up qualifying into that department. Although I have a strong interest in patents and life sciences and Taylor Wessing is very strong in these areas, I wanted to apply to firms that are also well rounded and have strong teams in other practice areas. Training with Taylor Wessing would allow me to learn from top experts in private client and TMT (technology, media and telecom) to name a few.
In terms of culture, I was impressed with every single interaction I had with members of the Taylor Wessing staff. I was first introduced to Taylor Wessing by a partner in the data protection team and a University of Birmingham alumnus, when he gave a talk at the school. I was surprised by his genuine willingness to help and his commitment to giving back to his alma mater. When I got the opportunity to attend an open day at the London office, the managing partner, Tim Eyles, took the time to speak to the attendees about the future of the law profession and the role of a trainee – something I’ve never experienced with any other firm. This openness and approachability can be seen throughout the firm and, combined with the quality of work, is a large part of the reason I chose to apply for a vac scheme at Taylor Wessing.
My vacation scheme lasted two weeks; I spent the first week in the tax department and the second week in the IP and media department. In both departments, all the trainees, associates and partners were very friendly and welcoming. They all made the effort to come around to the office where I was sitting and introduce themselves. This made me feel comfortable straight away and made it much easier to approach anyone with any questions I had. I also had a ‘trainee buddy’ in each department who was there to help me get assignments started on the right foot and give me little tips throughout the week.
Throughout the two weeks there were various social events we were invited to attend. During the first week, the firm treated us and some of the trainees to drinks and canapes at Flight Club, where we played darts and got to know our fellow vac schemers and the trainees better. It was a really nice way to add some friendly competition to the evening. The following week, our trainee buddies had organised a fantastic dinner for us on the rooftop terrace of the Madison. It was a great chance for us to learn from the trainees and have an informal discussion about what life as a Taylor Wessing trainee is like.
Finally, on the last evening, we had a farewell drinks reception celebrating all of our hard work and accomplishments over the last two weeks. It was at this event that I realised that I could really see myself working at Taylor Wessing and the people I met over the past two weeks could not only be co-workers but also friends.
The work that I did was both interesting and challenging and gave me a good insight into the type of work that a trainee does on a day-to-day basis. I was also impressed at the variety of work that I was given. Because I met so many people within each department, I received a wide range of work from paralegals, trainees, associates, senior counsels and even partners. The type of assignments I got included proofreading, drafting brand updates for the website, summarising recent changes to the law on trade secrets and reasearching the tax implications of mixed-use properties.
Vac schemers also got the opportunity to attend the Blackfriars Settlement pro bono clinic, which is run by the trainees on a weekly rota. It was nice to see such a high level of involvement and such a deep commitment to giving back to the community.
Finally, the work you will receive on the vac scheme is not just limited to individual assignments. At the beginning of the two weeks we were also given a group project. On the final day of the placement, each group had to present our ideas on how to ensure the future success of the firm. This gave us an opportunity to showcase how well we work as a team and also gain a better understanding of the future direction of the firm – something that we all hoped to be a part of!
I highly suggest applying for a vacation scheme at Taylor Wessing. Their unique recruitment model means that there is no need to reapply for a training contract. While this may seem like there is intense pressure to perform well on the vac scheme, it also means that you get a greater opportunity to show your authentic self and learn as much as you can about the firm. Taking this approach, I met many amazing people and learned as much as I could, confirming that I would fit in well and be very happy as a trainee at Taylor Wessing.