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How to choose the right firm to train with

Photo of Sonabella Harji
As any law student knows, the process of gaining a training contract is arduous, involving countless applications, Watson Glaser tests, video interviews and assessment days. It can sometimes feel like a full-time job in itself!

This year, I was ecstatic to be in the fortunate position of receiving two offers. Choosing between them was a very tough decision as both firms had many excellent and desirable qualities. I found myself contemplating a myriad factors and wondering which of these I should give the most weight.

Of course, the most important factors will vary from person to person as every individual is exactly that - an individual. As such, knowing yourself and what you want is a big part of the decision-making process.

The best initial advice anyone could give is to sit down and carefully consider what's important to you. Focus on yourself rather than thinking about what your friends, peers, family members or even university deem important. For me, the choice boiled down to three key factors which I'll now share with you.

Culture is key

This is perhaps the most important factor of them all. As I'm sure you're aware, a firm's culture sets the tone for your future working environment and can impact the types of relationships you will have with your colleagues.

Although I felt at home at both firms, after careful consideration, I felt I was most suited to TLT's culture. The firm prioritises personal development; I could be my bubbly chatty self throughout the assessment process and quickly noticed that at TLT a sense of humour was praised rather than seen as informal.

To me, this was extremely important as I felt that, even as a trainee, I could be myself, work with like-minded people and build good relationships with my future colleagues.

Location, location, location

Like many future trainees, initially I assumed that I would start my career in London. After all, I was born and raised there and my friends and family are based there.

However, when I took the time to think about what I actually wanted, I realised I was enticed by the idea of being able to walk to work rather than squeeze myself onto the tube every day, not being crushed by the price of renting in London, and of course the beautiful view from the panoramic glass window in TLT's Bristol office!

Where to sit?

Finally, whilst I had already decided to keep an open mind concerning seat options, I had always wanted to complete a seat in Family Law. While there's no guarantee I will get my preferred seat, I knew that this was an option at TLT's Bristol office as they have a family team with a strong presence.

This, combined with the quality of work, early responsibility and emphasis on the firm's organic growth, means my experience will be deep and varied. Moreover, I was excited to try my hand at areas of law and sectors, such as Technology and Intellectual Property and Clean Energy, that many other firms didn't offer.

Of course, these are the factors that matter to me. Whatever it is that you decide to prioritise, as a future trainee, the vital thing is to know what's important to you and where you could reach your full potential. After making my decision I believe I will thrive at TLT and I'm excited to start my career with the firm.