Isabelle Fox is a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors and is currently a trainee in Australia for Norton Rose Fulbright. Please read what she has to say about the firm below.
“I’ve found Norton Rose Fulbright genuinely is a very friendly firm; a big part of the recruitment process is making sure that we hire people who help maintain a pleasant working environment. On top of that, I think Norton Rose Fulbright has a good approach to its work ethic. At other firms there might be an expectation that trainees will give over their lives for work, and will work weekends at the drop of the hat, whereas at Norton Rose Fulbright my experience so far has been that I am asked if I can work the weekend, and partners and associates have always been flexible in this regard. Norton Rose Fulbright wants to hire interesting and dynamic people – not just law machines! – so there’s no benefit in expecting someone to give up all their other interests or hobbies when they start work. I volunteer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Bankside, and when I have a shift I have to leave work at 6pm. So long as I’ve given adequate notice and checked with my supervisor in advance, I’ve never had any problems getting out to fulfil my other commitments. Norton Rose Fulbright also takes its pro bono and charity responsibilities very seriously too, which was important to me when selecting a firm.
One of the reasons I came to Norton Rose Fulbright was because I wanted to work internationally, and I don’t think there are many other firms who give you the same extent of opportunities to do so as Norton Rose Fulbright does. Trainees are expected to want to go on secondment (either to a client or internationally), and I guess I did hit the jackpot in securing a Sydney rotation! A big part of the firm’s strategy going forward will be to improve communication and co-operation within the network to ensure we fully utilise our strengths and provide a completely fluid service to our clients across the globe, so it’s important to experience this at a junior level.
So far, my training contract has been varied and interesting. I’m currently on my third rotation. My first rotation was in capital markets and derivatives (one of the more technical banking teams). At that early stage, client contact for me was relatively minimal because I was working on extremely complex structured finance transactions. However, as a first seater you want to concentrate on getting the essential skills (organisation, time management, attitude) nailed, and I was definitely able to do this in my first seat. My second rotation was in the real estate team, where I was given a lot more responsibility. I was managing small transactions (licences to assign, deeds of variation etc.) by myself with relatively minimal supervision, and I had a large amount of client contact. Now, in my third rotation in Sydney, I’m really seeing the benefits of working for a firm with such extensive international scope – I’ve worked on a couple of deals now which have involved contacting our colleagues in other jurisdictions and collating advice from lots of different offices.
As a top tip, I think the important thing is to see the training contract as a progression – you’re not going to be the finished product in your first seat! It’s also good to go in with an open mind – if you try to structure your training contract too much around one department or one industry area, you might miss out on some of the skills that different teams can help you develop.”