Nicholas Davies

Trainee Solicitor

P: +44.207.851.6158
ndavies@brownrudnick.com


Why did you choose to do your training contract at a US law firm?

My reasons for applying to, and choosing to train at, a US law firm were based largely on the structural make-up of US law firms in general. The smaller teams and flatter structures of US law firms appealed to me as a working environment, which has since provided me with fantastic exposure to interesting legal work that includes a significant amount of contact with senior lawyers from the start of my training contract, and a high level of responsibility that has enabled me to run several matters with partner supervision.   

What was your first day like?

My first day at Brown Rudnick was very full on (in a good way!). After meeting with HR and being shown to my desk, I was taken around the firm to be introduced to members of each team based in the London office, which was a great way to quickly get to grips with the layout of the office, and to see firsthand how friendly everyone is at the firm.

Following the “office introductions”, I attended several internal training sessions, which covered IT and Professional Skills Course arrangements, as well as sitting down for lunch with the trainee supervisors. At the end of the day, I attended the Croydon Law Centre to provide pro bono legal support, along with some of the firm’s associates, which provided an insight into the firm’s commitment to serving the public interest through Brown Rudnick’s Center for the Public Interest.

What seat are you currently in and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently seated in Brown Rudnick’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations team, which focuses largely on representing individuals facing FCA or SFO investigations in the UK. The most enjoyable part of the seat has been the wide ranging nature of my work that can differ from one day to the next, which has included attending an FCA interview in relation to an insider dealing investigation, drafting witness statements and attending Southwark Crown Court to take a note in relation to a trial concerning manipulation of benchmark interest rates.

Do you know what your next seat will be?

My fourth and final seat will be in the firm’s Corporate & Capital Markets team.

What seat have you enjoyed most so far?

My favourite seat so far has been Real Estate Special Situations and Trading. I had very little prior knowledge of finance before I started the seat, but the team were very encouraging and spent a lot of time with me to explain the finer details of real estate finance and secondary debt trading, which not only improved my understanding of the finance industry generally, but enabled me to get more involved in a number of different workstreams. Aside from being afforded a lot of contact time with partners, as tends to be the case as a trainee at Brown Rudnick, I was given a lot of responsibility by the team, which included running my own distressed debt trades and performing condition precedents in relation to a £280m hotel refinancing.

How are seats chosen at Brown Rudnick?

Due to the size of the London office, and the number of trainees, the seat selection process is relatively informal and essentially consists of a trainee having a conversation with Chloe Pawson-Pounds (Trainee Principal) and Rachel Roe (Associate Development & Training Manager), and stating their seat preferences (this typically occurs during the trainee’s mid-seat review; three months into each seat). The trainee’s seat preferences will be considered, together with the seat preferences of the other trainees, and the trainee will usually be informed of their next seat a few weeks before rotation.

What is the culture like at Brown Rudnick?

Brown Rudnick has a very friendly and collegial culture. Partners at the firm are extremely approachable and, even as a trainee, you are always encouraged to express any opinions that you may have, which will be listened to.

Do you get to socialise much with other trainees/lawyers at the firm?

There are a number of social and networking events that occur at and outside the firm throughout the calendar year, which, as a trainee, you are always encouraged to attend. This not only presents you with regular opportunities to interact with colleagues at the firm who may be in other departments but also presents you with opportunities to speak with clients / potential clients of the firm.

In addition, the trainees regularly head to the Burlington Arms, the London office’s local watering hole, for weekly drinks on a Friday, and will often be joined by other Brown Rudnick staff members.

What advice would you give to anyone applying to Brown Rudnick for a training contract?

My advice for prospective applicants would be to avoid applying for a Brown Rudnick training contract at the last minute. It is important to take your time over the application and to ensure that you use the cover letter to clearly express why you are interested in training at Brown Rudnick and why you think that you would be a good fit for the firm.


Lucy Hartland

Trainee Solicitor

P: +44.207.851.6104
lhartland@brownrudnick.com


Why did you choose to do your training contract at a US law firm?

I chose to train at a US law firm because I wanted to work for an international law firm with an excellent reputation which offered the chance to work on complex cross-border deals as well as working with overseas clients. I liked the fact that the intake of trainees for each year was smaller than other UK city law firms. As the intake is more exclusive, the level of responsibility is higher and the support from and contact with supervising partners and associates is greater.

What was your first day like?

My first day at Brown Rudnick was fairly relaxed; I met the other trainees in my in-take before being shown around the firm and introduced to everyone. I was then introduced to the partners, associates and LEA’s in the Restructuring and Insolvency department, which is where I did my first seat. The first day consisted mainly of introductory training sessions relating to the firm’s systems, processes and procedures, lunch with my in-take and informal chats with the partners and associates in my department who put me at ease and informed me of what to expect during my six months with them and my two years of training at the firm. I also attended the pro bono Law Clinic at the end of the day. The Law Clinic takes place once per month and provides the opportunity to enhance client interviewing and advising skills whilst also having a positive impact on those who may not otherwise be able to access legal advice as easily.

What seat are you currently in and what do you enjoy most about it?

While there tends to be cross-overs between different departments, each department offers something unique and exciting. I am currently in my third seat in the Corporate department. During my time in the Corporate department I have had continuous exposure to a number of interesting transactions. As the sole trainee in the department I am able to get in involved in a number of high-profile transactions and I am able to learn from extremely skilled Associates and Partners. Everyone in the department is approachable and they are always available to answer any questions I may have. I am currently working on a large private acquisition relating to a portfolio of properties, I have been involved in the due diligence process as well as being able to review some of the key transactional documents and draft ancillary documents. The teams in the firm tend to be leaner than in other city firms which provides the opportunity to take on a high level of responsibility at an early stage and offers a variety of work with the prospect of getting involved in each aspect of the deal.

Do you know what your next seat will be?

I do not yet know what my next seat will be. I am just over half way through my current seat so I expect I will have a conversation about my next seat and find out where I am going soon. I am hoping to do another transactional seat.

What seat have you enjoyed most so far?

It is difficult to choose which seat I have enjoyed the most so far, each seat and each department offers a different learning experience with the opportunity to develop new skills. During each seat I received excellent training, great exposure to work and lots of client contact. I have enjoyed the transactional seats the most so far and during my first seat I was involved in some very interesting restructuring work which meant that I was even lucky enough to travel to Portugal.

How are seats chosen at Brown Rudnick?

The firm will decide your first seat for you and you will be told which department you will be in on your first day. Chloe Pawson-Pounds, the Training Principal, may encourage you to do one contentious and one non-contentious seat in your first year. This is a good idea as it should then help you to get a feel for the type of solicitor you would like to be, namely, a litigator or a transactional lawyer. You will rotate every six-months and it is very important to go into each new seat with an open mind as the skills and legal knowledge you acquire in one seat will likely be transferrable in a new seat. About two-thirds of the way through each seat, you will be asked about where you would like to go next, the firm will take into account your personal interests as well as considering its business needs. The second-year trainees tend to have priority over the first year trainees.

What is the culture like at Brown Rudnick?

Brown Rudnick breaks the mould of the traditional law firm and fosters and encourages teamwork, ingenuity and individualism. Brown Rudnick advocates an open door policy and associates and partners are always available to offer guidance, training and insight where needed or requested. You will work with extremely bright and talented lawyers offering a vibrant platform in which to develop into a successful solicitor. Trainees are encouraged to take an active role in the firm and will become a part of the Brown Rudnick family from day one.

Do you get to socialise much with other trainees/lawyers at the firm?

The firm runs and advertises many business development events which are held both in-house and externally which trainees actively encouraged to attend. The different departments also run different social events, for example, the Corporate Department recently hosted a mini-golf associates event at Swingers and the firm held an associates bowling night at Ham Yard Hotel. The firm even gives trainees a marketing budget to assist with networking and business development.

What advice would you give to anyone applying to Brown Rudnick for a training contract?

Make sure you have read up about the firm, its lawyers and its recent developments - it is important that you are confident that Brown Rudnick is the right firm for you. Brown Rudnick likes its trainees to have some commercial awareness, make sure you draw on previous relevant work experience in your application to highlight this. If you do not have work experience because you are straight out of university, then be pragmatic, think about the skills that you can offer and how you stand out from other applicants. You will need to be able to think on your feet and react to problems presented to you in an intelligent manner.  The firm doesn’t just look for academics, show off your extra-curricular skills and let the firm see who the person behind the application form is.