What we learned from an hour listening to five top lawyers Ahead of the summer training contract application deadline, five lawyers gathered at the latest Legal Cheek and The University of Law (ULaw) Secrets to Success event in Leeds to share their wisdom.

Four were solicitors, from respectively Pinsent Masons , Walker Morris , Womble Bond Dickinson and ULaw (via DLA Piper and Addleshaw Goddard ), while one was a barrister from Broadway House Chambers. An audience of 40 students asked the questions in a discussion chaired by Legal Cheek reporter Aishah Hussain. Here are the best bits. 1. Which animal is your future law firm?

One of the students asked the lawyers on the panel which animal each of their law firms most resembled. This seemingly jokey question proved to have a serious side as the speakers were forced to think about what made their respective firms different.

Peter Morley, a tax partner in Pinsent Masons’ Leeds office, drew upon his firm’s reputation for quality work, tech savvy and efficiency to liken it to a panther (which also happened to be his ten-year-old son’s favourite animal, he admitted). Aaron Dixon, a commercial solicitor at Walker Morris, focused on his firm’s independent status (the single office outfit operates internationally through alliances with other independent law firms) and resourceful nature, to liken it to a shark.

Meanwhile, Womble Bond Dickinson managing associate and commercial property litigator Fiona Graham suggested that her firm’s friendly culture and popularity with its transatlantic client base gave it Labrador puppy-like qualities. 2. Standing out from the crowd

Joining the solicitors on the panel was Niall Carlin, a criminal barrister at Broadway House Chambers who is also a senior lecturer at ULaw Leeds. Carlin had some great advice for pupillage and training contract hunters about standing out from the crowd: “Find a USP [unique selling point] to sell yourself around.” For Carlin, that USP was an interest in criminal law that went beyond mini-pupillages to see him do an internship through the UK charity Amicus ALJ where he worked on behalf of a law firm in Houston, Texas that […]

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