Why is commercial awareness important to your trainee recruitment process?
A lawyer / client relationship is most effective when the lawyer can be a trusted adviser to the business. This kind of relationship only develops where the lawyer is genuinely interested in the way their client’s business operates. So, commercial lawyers need to understand their clients and the environments in which they operate.
Potential trainees may demonstrate this through legal or non-legal work experience which has helped them understand a businesses or organisation’s needs and expectations. They also need to be able to display an interest in current affairs, an awareness of business deals, disputes occurring across the world, as well as the latest government policies being implemented.
Good numeracy skills are important: it goes without saying that City law firms work on complex financial transactions.
Finally, we also need trainees who can show entrepreneurial skills. We want to see examples of how they have made something happen or changed something around. Independent thinking and drive are critical in the long-term – we want our potential future partners to be entrepreneurial as they develop our own business.
Why are you Travers Smith supporting the Commercial Awareness Competition?
Our partnership with Aspiring Solicitors is really important to us. Its aim – to drive diversity through the legal profession – is aligned with what we want for our business too.
Chris [White] invited me and Dan Reavill to the 2016 final of the competition. We were incredibly impressed by the calibre of the finalists. Having seen what they achieved, we were keen to support them and, wearing a more self-interested hat, we could see that being able to work with a pool of such great potential trainees was a fantastic opportunity for us.
What are Travers Smith hoping to achieve from supporting the Commercial Awareness Competition?
Two things. We want to stand with Aspiring Solicitors to demonstrate our commitment to diversity in our workplace. And we hope that some of the very talented competitors look at what we do and apply to us for a training contract or vac scheme.
Our first year of sponsorship has already resulted in training contract offers being made to competitors we saw in the semis and final.
Why is diversity and inclusion important to Travers Smith?
Creating a diverse and inclusive culture is a key business priority for Travers Smith. We believe only the highest-performing teams, which maximise the power of different opinions, perspectives and cultural references, will succeed in the marketplace.
Each one of us is different, and we value and respect this: not just in relation to gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and faith, but also in terms of background, education, working style, and family or care responsibilities.
As a leading law firm, we’re committed to leveraging these differences in order to achieve the best possible results and most effectively serve our clients and communities. We’re also convinced that a genuinely inclusive environment, where all our people feel valued and where their differences are embraced is a crucial element in maintaining and further developing a high performing business and rewarding workplace.
Any advice/information Travers Smith would like to share with the entrants to the Commercial Awareness Competition this year?
To have a diverse workplace, people need to feel that they can come to work and be themselves and I think that the same applies to the competition. All of the entrants will have strong commercial awareness and will be thinking hard about topical business issues and news stories. The candidates that stand out are those who can be themselves in the face of that pressure and demonstrate what makes them tick and what they are passionate about.