Utilities

Aji Ayorinde - Trainee

Trainee, second seat trainee

Can you tell us about your first impressions of Norton Rose Fulbright?

Norton Rose Fulbright has always been on my radar as an exciting place to start my career. My family has a strong background in Nigerian law and I have a long-running interest in law in Africa, so I knew that the practice was one of the most dynamic London-based firms in Nigeria and one of the most active across the continent in general.

I was already interested in the firm’s global presence, but I think what cemented my decision to apply was being able to talk to one of the firm’s global board members at a networking dinner. I was genuinely impressed by the interest that such senior figures took in us as potential applicants. As someone with a particular interest in specialising in Africa work, it meant I had the chance to chat with someone who could answer my questions in real depth.

And what about your first seat? What did you learn there?

My first seat was a litigation seat and it was unquestionably a blessing in disguise. I was placed in a team conducting general litigation work as well as some investigatory work for high-profile banking clients and technology clients. Whilst I had never seen myself as a litigation lawyer, being placed in a litigation seat exposed me to an area of the firm I hadn’t considered. I know now that the knowledge and soft skills I gained will stand me in good stead for the rest of my training contract.

What kind of mentoring have you had and how has that helped you focus on your direction for the future?

All trainees are provided with a partner mentor who’ll be with you throughout your training contract. The partners take that pastoral role extremely seriously and strive to give you effective guidance through the experience, so that you can make an informed decision about where you would like to qualify and specialise.

Over the next year I’m aiming to get the most out of my banking and corporate seats in London, before getting ready to begin life as an associate. At the moment, I’m leaning towards banking as the most viable option for me, with a particular focus on project finance in Africa. I’d also like to help the firm to continue to develop its Africa practice. I’ve been involved in some business development work whilst on secondment in Johannesburg and I’m hopeful that I can continue to build my skills and experience in this area.

If you could give one piece of advice to Norton Rose Fulbright applicants, what would you say?

When you’re making your application, don’t bury the things that make you different. This will help you stand out and since the firm’s looking for individuals, you’ll be more likely to be invited for interview. Bring out your unique strengths and interests and explain how they could make you a useful part of the team.

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