Shearman & Sterling blog

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5 minutes with future trainee, Jessica Davies

23rd November 2016

Jessica Davies Shearman & Sterling

What University did you attend?
The University of York

What subject did you study?
LLB Law

When do you join as a trainee?
I start in August 2017.

How did you hear about Shearman & Sterling?
I got my first insight into Shearman & Sterling when undertaking work experience with the firm in their Abu Dhabi office. During my time there I was able to learn more about the firm’s key practice areas and learn about life as a trainee.

What made you apply?
Initially, my motivation to apply to Shearman & Sterling came from my experience with the firm in their Abu Dhabi office. It was commonplace to see a trainee involved in work comprising five or more jurisdictions and the opportunity to do this kind of multi-jurisdictional work was what attracted me to Shearman & Sterling.

I was also campus ambassador for Shearman & Sterling whilst at University. This role gave me the opportunity to learn more about the firm’s London office and the structure of the training contract. After speaking to trainees in both Abu Dhabi and London, it was pleasing to see a continuity of the firm’s culture internationally. For instance, it became clear that every trainee at Shearman & Sterling is afforded a high level of responsibility.

How did you approach the initial application form?
I knew that I wanted to make my application form stand out and make it clear that I knew how a training contract at Shearman & Sterling would differ from other firms.

In order to do this, I focused on the firm’s relatively small trainee intake and stated why a higher level of responsibility during a training contract appealed to me. I also conducted research on specific deals that were of interest to me and made sure to mention my first hand experience with the firm.

What made Shearman & Sterling different to other firms?
It might sound cliché, but ultimately I found the firm’s culture to be the differentiating factor. During my summer vacation scheme, I was able to see trainees working with partners on a daily basis. This contrasted with some other vacation schemes that I went on where trainees were scared to even ask for help or speak to a partner! At Shearman & Sterling, this was something that was actively encouraged, and all of the partners were approachable and willing to help.

What made you accept?
For me, it was my experience on the summer vacation scheme. During the scheme I was able to actually get involved in trainee tasks and learn first hand what it’s like to be a trainee at the firm. After completing the scheme I was certain that I was suited to a training contract at Shearman & Sterling.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in Shearman & Sterling?
Firstly, do as much research on the firm as you can before you make an application. That way, your application will be tailored to Shearman & Sterling and you will have really thought about why you want to apply. Secondly, try and talk to members of the firm in order to gain an understanding of the culture. This may be at a Law fair, an open day or on a vacation scheme. Speaking to members of the firm is the best way to really find out if Shearman & Sterling is the right fit for you.

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