Olswang has an ‘excellent reputation in media and TMT law’ making it ‘the place to be’ if you want to work in these sectors. The ‘interesting clients’ are at ‘the cutting-edge of their industries’, and advising them can offer ‘fantastic exposure to the in-house practices of large media organisations’. The impressive clients are considered one of the best things about the firm, but trainees note that sometimes there ‘isn’t much client contact’. Trainees are ‘key members of the team’ and are known as ‘individuals rather than trainee number X’. There is ‘zero expectation of face-time as everyone has side hobbies that keep them motivated and in touch with the outside world’. There have been a few grumbles from trainees about ‘being over-loaded with work’ and ‘working long days and nights’. The ‘very tight deadlines’ result in trainees working ‘under high pressure’, though celebratory moments include ‘a bottle of champagne after finishing the verification process for an investor presentation’. Also, trainees enjoy ‘meeting famous people through the media practice’, as well as ‘completing deals for happy clients’. The ‘firm is self-aware in trying to break down any hierarchy as much as possible’, and as a result Olswang lawyers are ‘friendly and inclusive’. Trainees get to work with ‘different teams of people who are highly intelligent and have different working styles you can learn from’. This is ‘good-quality training’ which involves a ‘combination of formal and informal training sessions’. Those who want to work with ‘top clients’ at an ‘innovative firm’ should take a look at Olswang.
A day in the life of...
David Whitehead trainee, Olswang
Departments to date: Corporate, commercial litigation
University:St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge
8.40am: I arrive at work after cycling in. After a shower and a quick check of my emails I grab a coffee and head up to the third floor.
9.15am: At my desk I draw up a to-do list prioritising my tasks for the day (I learned early on that being organised is the one of the key skills a trainee has to learn). I start by reviewing a bundle I prepared the previous evening for a court hearing the following week. Preparing bundles is an important (and sadly unavoidable) task for litigation trainees, and the rest of the team are relying on it having been checked thoroughly! Once I’ve checked that all the documents are properly referenced I send the bundle off to be copied.
10.15am: I attend a meeting with the rest of the team (a partner and two associates) ahead of the hearing and take a file note of a call with counsel. Strategy for the hearing is discussed, and I am assigned a number of follow-up tasks including drafting a letter to the court. I have been involved with this particular case since the beginning of my seat and have enjoyed my role within the team. One advantage of being part of a comparatively small intake of trainees is that you are given a fair amount of responsibility early on in your training contract.
11.30am: I have a brief chat with a partner about a smaller matter I’m working on, and I give him a witness statement I have drafted to review. On this matter I’m working directly for the partner and have been trusted to carry out a lot of the work independently, which is great if a little nerve-wracking!
12.00pm: I get back to my desk to find an email from an associate asking if I’m available to carry out a discrete piece of research on a point of law before the end of the day. I don’t have any other high-priority tasks to complete so I reply to say that I have capacity and make a start on the research (an ability to prioritise is the other key skill a trainee has to learn).
1.00pm: I head up to the canteen for lunch and catch up with a few of the other trainees. It’s almost time for us to start thinking about our next seats, so the main topic of conversation is where everyone would like to go next.
2.00pm: I get back to my desk to find that the copies of the bundle have been delivered. I walk over to court (which is just around the corner) to file the bundle, and I arrange for other copies to be sent out.
2.45pm: I get a coffee on my way back into the office and start writing up my research note. An email is sent to all litigation trainees asking for someone to write a blog article on a recent case, for which I volunteer.
3.45pm: My supervisor asks me to update the costs budget on a case I am helping her with. I’m familiar with the process, having worked on the case for a while, so it fortunately doesn’t take me too long to complete. I finish my research note and send it back to the associate.
4.30pm: I head upstairs to join the student I am tutoring as part of The Access Project, a volunteer organisation that provides academic support to a local school. I am helping my tutee prepare for her AS-level exams, which are fast approaching.
6.00pm: I type up my file note from the earlier meeting and circulate it to the team, and write myself a note detailing tasks that have to be completed the next day.
7.00pm: I leave the office and meet with some of my fellow trainees for a drink in the sunshine, including some who are currently on client secondments and I haven’t seen for a while.