Foreign Law Firm - Work Culture and Opportunities

The opportunities beyond the geographical limits of a foreign law firm job, excite a good lot of Indian law school students. These foreign law firm provides a training contract of two years first which is followed by a permanent job there.

How is the work culture, working hours, opportunities in a foreign law firm? A senior of mine was helpful enough to let me know about the life in a foreign law firm.

What is it to work as a trainee in an international law firm?

Trainees usually sit with a Principal who is their direct boss, but they work for everyone in the department.

A trainee can get a range of work from proofreading legal documents, preparation of bibles (which is sort of a big folder where all the transaction documents are kept as a record), legal research etc. At the trainee level you don’t get to interact with the clients, that starts at the associate level.

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As trainees we move every six months into a new department, and at the end of it can choose one to qualify in. This bit is quite different from India where you are assigned your department rather than getting the chance to experience different kinds of work and seeing what suits you best. Having said that trainees will usually make decisions regarding the departments they want to sit in based on the chances of qualification into that group, larger departments will need more associates than little ones. So it’s not too much of a choice as it would appear.

In terms of work hours, even though you are a trainee since you are trying to prove yourself so that you can eventually qualify into a group, you will stay as long as the associates you are working for require you to even if that means staying all night. No leeway in that respect.

What are the best opportunities of working at a top international law firm?

The opportunity of staying in a new country by yourself and meeting people from all around the world. Since these firms are very cosmopolitan you actually end up having friends from all around the world. Not limited just to London. There are also secondment opportunities where you can visit international offices within the span of your training contract.

Culture: As far as culture of the firm is concerned I’m not sure if it is very different from India, you are expected to work hard and put in the hours when you have regardless of the amount of time you spend in office just like in India.


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