Alice Steele


Trainee secondment to Uría Menéndez

Going on secondment as a trainee provided me with an amazing opportunity for personal and professional development. I spent my fourth seat on secondment to Uría Menéndez´s Madrid office, where I sat in the Competition team.

Although excited, I was also apprehensive about moving to a new law firm in a country where I didn’t speak the language. However, as soon as I arrived in Madrid I was made to feel at home. Everyone was friendly and I instantly felt welcomed. I embraced the differences in Spanish working culture and I was also invited on the group’s annual “Competition Retreat” on my second weekend at the firm.

The role offered exposure to a wide range of Competition work including research tasks as well as drafting merger notifications to the European Commission and negotiating contracts between a multinational fashion brand and a retailer to ensure compliance with Competition law. In addition, I joined a partner to teach a series of university seminars on Competition law. The team in Madrid was smaller than the Slaughter and May team which meant that I was often working directly for a partner. This helped me to develop my confidence and use my initiative - skills that will equip me well for newly-qualified associate life.

Besides work, I embraced the other benefits of international secondment. I fell in love with Madrid - exploring its incredible art museums, parks and restaurants on every corner. I utilised the country’s impressive train network to visit lots of different areas in Spain - a particular highlight was participating in the Valencia marathon.

Another benefit of the secondment was that it allowed me to develop my Spanish from a complete beginner to being able to communicate with my Spanish colleagues. Both firms supported me with resources to achieve this and it is a skill which I wouldn’t have developed without this opportunity.