Isaac studied Law at LSE and joined the firm as a trainee solicitor in March 2023.
ROUTE TO LAW
Like many students graduating during the pandemic, the process of applying for and starting a career seemed daunting. I was always torn between the academic rigour of a legal career, and the fast-paced commercial environment of a career in business or the City. Having undertaken both an LLB and LLM by this point, I knew I enjoyed legal problem solving and the technicality of corporate law, and so the jump to commercial law seemed natural.
I joined the firm in March 2023 and have recently started my second seat in Financing, having previously sat in Disputes and Investigations. The process of choosing your seats at the firm is very collaborative and the HR team aim to accommodate everyone’s wishes and ensure everyone gets a sufficiently diverse and varied training contract. I have chosen to sit in two contentious and two transactional seats so that I can gain as much experience in both these areas of law so that when it comes to qualification, I can make the most informed decision possible.
I am currently sitting in the Restructuring and Insolvency Hub which is a part of our Financing group. Trainees in Financing get the opportunity to sit for three months in this specialised restructuring hub as well as getting three months in general transactional finance. Although new to the group, I have really enjoyed this seat so far. Work in the hub combines complex (and very interesting!) black letter law with the need to understand the business from a macro level and to consider the perspective of various stakeholders with different needs during times of financial difficulty, which has massively helped develop my commercial awareness.
My first seat, Disputes and Investigations, covered a wide range of litigation as well as regulatory and internal investigations. What struck me about sitting in Disputes was the quality of the work the department and the firm undertake. All the matters I worked on were extremely high profile and there was a thrill in seeing the cases you are working on in the news. Trainee tasks in Disputes include legal research, case and communication management and taking notes of client meetings. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to attend court multiple times during my time as a trainee – an exciting experience where you can see the entire team’s work come to fruition.
TRANSITIONING FROM STUDY TO WORK
The training contract contains formal training sessions in each seat to help trainees get to grips with the different practice areas. Most of the learning comes from working on the job, but supervisors and associates giving you work are always extremely understanding of the jump from a student environment to a working one and are always happy to answer questions/ explain things to you. The fact that each trainee is assigned a supervisor, co-supervisor and a monitoring partner means that there are always plenty of support resources available to you.
BECOMING A MULTI-SPECIALIST
One of the major advantages of the multi-specialist approach at Slaughter and May is that within one seat you gain significant exposure to many different types of work. For example, in Disputes I worked on financial services, competition and environmental litigation. Similarly, in Financing I have been working on both restructuring and insolvency work as well as more typical financing transactions like a bond issuance. In other City firms, trainees may only see one such area in a seat and won’t gain the depth and breadth of experience.
The culture at Slaughter and May is both meritocratic and supportive. Everyone you work with is extremely driven and enthusiastic but also ready to help whenever needed. The hours can, at times, be unpredictable, especially in a fast-paced transactional seat, but this is offset by quieter periods after a deal/transaction has closed.
Being a part of a relatively large trainee cohort means there is an amicable environment as soon as you start. There are lots of opportunities to socialise within the firm including sports clubs and networks (I am a part of PRISM – the firm’s LGBTQ+ group - and J-Net – the firm’s Jewish network) which enable you to meet like-minded colleagues and ensure everyone has a place within the firm.