I am a second seat trainee based in our London office. Having completed my first seat in Real Estate, I am now undertaking a seat in Banking, Re- structuring and Insolvency.
Prior to commencing my training contract with TLT I secured a secondment to a major retail bank at their global headquarters in Canary Wharf.
I had been seeking experience in a business environment which would help prepare me for my training contract, whilst allowing me to save up for travelling before my start date in March 2019.
After completing my vacation scheme with TLT in summer 2017, I kept in contact with the graduate recruitment team who were aware of my plans. When they called me about the secondment opportunity, I was apprehensive and in many ways, it felt like my training contract was starting six months early. Fast forward four days, I attended an informal coffee at the client’s offices and was able to start the following week.
The quick and relaxed recruitment process was a result of the strong relationship TLT has with their client. Aside from matter related work, we collaborate with them on their Aspiring Solicitors mentoring scheme and we have previously worked alongside them in their legal technology partnership for start-ups.Trainees get involved in these initiatives, which is a fantastic way to hone those business development skills.
TLT got to know me on the vacation scheme and were confident in putting me forward for the secondment, which shows their progressive culture and commitment to developing trainees from the outset. To me, it shows that TLT do more than just paying lip service to their promise of giving their trainees a high degree of responsibility.
I sat within the bank’s global change team and was responsible with assisting them in their strategic re-organisation under the ring fencing legislation.This regime was considerably resource intensive and gave me the opportunity to work with colleagues across the bank (including technology, strategy, corporate and private banking).
Although this was frightening at first, I gained confidence in working in a fast paced environment where I was directly answerable to clients.
The client’s building itself is like an airport, with people arriving daily from their other global offices. I was surprised at how seamlessly teams managed to work across their offices and the various time zones they were in. Despite all of this, and the bad reputation that banks often get, I was surprised at how down to earth, friendly and truly diverse they were as a global organisation.
Aside from the mind boggling number of employees, there were an even more mind boggling number of options on the menu at breakfast and lunch every day. There is nice a buzz to Canary Wharf, which thrives as a financial hub in London. It was a great place to work over the summer. The area has plenty of great bars, restaurants and outdoor venues, which made for an ideal spot for watching the World Cup, Wimbledon or just generally socialising after work.
Working “client- side” allowed me to view issues that organisations of the bank’s size encounter, with a more practical approach, rather than thinking about issues in a purely legal or technical way. I gained an understanding of how difficult it can be to make decisions and implement processes when there are so many stakeholders involved with different outlooks.
Overall, the secondment was a fantastic experience. Not only did I get a taste of working in a global financial institution in a period of regulatory change, I developed key skills which I have been able to use during my training contract.
Fortunately, many TLT trainees are able to go on secondment during their training contracts and this is something I am hopeful of doing. Whether this means going back to the bank, or another organisation, I am sure the invaluable experience I gained during my secondment will prove useful as I progress.
For any prospective trainees reading this who like the sound of opportunities like this, I highly recommend attending a TLT Live open evening, trying to secure a vacation scheme and building your own relationship with the firm. Exposing yourself to a firm’s culture is the only way to decide whether it is the right place for you, so I would encourage you to do this as soon as possible.