“Osborne Clarke doesn't expect anyone to be a robot—personality and passion are encouraged”

What’s it like to do a training contract at Osborne Clarke? Three aspiring solicitors shared their experiences with us.

  • Last updated Nov 26, 2019 12:37:36 PM
  • Article contributed by Osborne Clarke
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Georgie Green, training contract, third seat (corporate tax)

What does a typical day look like for you in this seat?

Every day is different for me—I never know exactly what my day will look like until I arrive in the morning and check my emails. In corporate tax, we get a lot of our work from other departments within the firm, often supporting the corporate team on their deals or the real estate team on the tax implications of their various transactions.

I review my emails first thing and plan my tasks for the day. I often start with research, looking into technical points of tax law, and move onto drafting documents and liaising with HMRC.

What’s the most memorable moment of your time at the firm so far?

In my last seat, I was given the opportunity to take the lead from the real estate side on a large refinancing deal, drafting and negotiating documents. So far in my time in corporate tax, I have put together research notes on complicated areas of tax law, one of which was for a cross-jurisdiction tax litigation claim for almost £100m.

What convinced you to apply for a training contract with Osborne Clarke?

One of the first things I read about Osborne Clarke detailed the award-winning training programme. I wanted to join a firm with high-quality work and impressive clients that also supported its trainees, so I could learn from people at the top of their fields while also being supported as an individual. I have found this to be the case since joining the firm—I have been given a lot of responsibility while always feeling properly supported. I wanted to work for a firm that cares about the local community and environment, the employees and also about the quality of work it produces, and Osborne Clarke ticked all of those boxes.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in training at the firm?

Be yourself. Osborne Clarke doesn't expect anyone to be a robot—personality and passion are encouraged.

What’s the level of support like for trainees at the firm?

As trainees, we are given a great deal of responsibility to encourage us to learn and develop our own styles, but I have always felt supported and been given useful feedback from supervisors.

What makes the firm different?

From our beehive and allotment, to the award-winning practices and highly-ranked lawyers, Osborne Clarke is unique in that its focus is on its wider impact as a firm, without losing the importance of high-quality, technical work for a consistently impressive client base.  

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George Oakes, training contract, first seat (real estate)

What does a typical day look like for you in this seat?

Since I do a mix of residential development and commercial property work, and because of the sheer amount of matters being run across the real estate team, there is no typical day! There is a fair amount of project management involved, which carries a lot of responsibility, and you are often updating more senior team members as you are the person with the best grip on the deal as a whole. You are likely to see the full life cycle of a matter throughout your seat, from file opening to billing and file closure.

Typical tasks so far have included: drafting and negotiating leases and ancillary documents, such as licences to assign and alter; preparing land registry forms, and conducting and reviewing searches. There is also plenty of client contact over the phone and email, and I have already attended two client meetings in my first six weeks in the seat.

What’s the most memorable moment of your time at the firm so far?

The completion of a £73-million portfolio purchase and refinance for a real estate investment trust, where I had been heavily involved in the team working on the property conditions precedent to get the deal over the line.

What convinced you to apply for a training contract with Osborne Clarke?

I wanted to experience top-quality work in a non-hierarchical environment. There is a real sense of collaboration between offices, with fee earners from all offices advising on top-quality matters. Osborne Clarke also prides itself on being forward-thinking, in particular with its expertise in digital transformation, which is exciting as the legal sector is undergoing huge changes during such an early stage of my career.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in training at the firm?

Find a way to meet people from the firm, ideally in person at Law Fairs, our office presentation evenings or external events. If that's not possible, LinkedIn is a fantastic resource and everyone is happy to answer any questions you may have.

What’s the level of support like for trainees at the firm?

Even in real estate, where trainees are given a lot of responsibility, you are never unsupervised and nobody is too busy to answer a question you may have. It's always better to double-check than to plough on and find that you've made a mistake that could have been avoided.

What makes the firm different?

Osborne Clarke's culture makes the firm different and it has a strong reputation in this space compared to other UK firms. It is hard to gain an insight into this until you secure a place on our vacation scheme when, hopefully, you will find that you are instantly at ease and could see yourself working at the firm during your training contract and beyond. If you end up in the fortunate position of being able to choose between training contract offers, you may find that this is the deciding factor, like it was for me.

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Sam Furse, training contract, third seat (commercial disputes and intellectual property)

What does a typical day look like for you in this seat?

There really is no “typical day” as a trainee in my team, as the work is incredibly varied. Broadly speaking, my role involves assisting with a wide range of commercial disputes, which means that I could be assisting with drafting, communicating with counterparties or the Court, as well as attending meetings with clients, reviewing Court rules and assisting with the advice to our clients on the appropriate next steps. As a trainee, you are given a lot of responsibility and can really get involved in helping to resolve the issue for the client.

What’s the most memorable moment of your time at the firm so far?

In my insolvency seat I was involved in the restructuring of a high street brand following the discovery of financial difficulties. Given the brand was listed on the stock market at the time, the difficulties were well documented. The work was challenging, but I learned a lot and I was given the opportunity to really get involved in the matter.

What convinced you to apply for a training contract with Osborne Clarke?

I spent a lot of time researching and thinking about the type of firm I wanted to train with and I really liked the sector-focused approach that Osborne Clarke offers. Furthermore, the opportunity to be part of a very forward-looking law firm that provides legal advice to a number of leading companies internationally alongside a great work-life balance was very appealing.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in training at the firm?

An important element for me was finding out as much as I could about the firm online and attending events such as careers fairs to speak to current trainees. Not only did this help me to consider whether the firm was right for me, but it also really helped when it came to showing my knowledge and enthusiasm to join the firm in the assessment process. It can be very tempting to prepare as many applications as possible as a way to “increase the odds” of getting into a vacation scheme or assessment centre. But by taking the time to understand the firm's values, culture and clients, I was able to tailor my application and make it stand out from the crowd.

What’s the level of support like for trainees at the firm?

The level of support for trainees at Osborne Clarke is fantastic. Not only is there introductory training upon each seat rotation, but also continuous training with your department throughout the seat. We also have weekly one-to-ones with our supervisors, and your team is always happy to deal with queries in between. Those managing matters also take the time to sit down and discuss the background of the matter and give tips on how to deal with tasks in the most efficient way—this is really useful, especially when you’ve been asked to complete a task that is completely new.  

What makes the firm different?

The culture at Osborne Clarke makes the firm stand out among other law firms, as there is a focus on providing great legal advice but also on maintaining a good work-life balance. I have found that I have been able to work flexibly, even as a trainee at the firm. My colleagues are also very approachable, meaning queries can be dealt with quickly and effectively. I have also found that trainees are given a great deal of responsibility, meaning we can play a very active role in matters rather than just supporting from the side-lines. This is great for overall development as a lawyer and helps us really understand the matters we are involved with.

To find out more about opportunities at Osborne Clarke, visit their profile. 

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