Sam Tappenden

Trainee, Third seat

How did you come to be at Norton Rose Fulbright?

After studying Spanish and French, I spent three years working in marketing for a business events and publishing company before deciding to pursue a career in commercial law. I had heard about Norton Rose Fulbright through energy clients at my previous job, and learned more through websites such as Chambers Student.

Attending the interview, it was clear that the recruitment literature was not just marketing speak. The interviewers, at the top of their fields, were personable and interested. The trainees who joined us for lunch were passionate when speaking about their roles and their experiences at the firm. I found this atmosphere much more appealing than other firms I had interviewed at.

I successfully applied for a training contract here and then studied for the GDL and the LPC at BPP University.

How would you say you’ve grown since starting your training contract?

Now that I’m three quarters of the way through my training contract, I would say that my confidence has grown significantly. I’m happy contacting clients. I’m comfortable suggesting ideas to more senior team members. And that’s all down to the support and experience I’ve found here. I’ve found plenty of help to learn the firm’s systems and ways of doing things, and I’ve definitely become more efficient and confident as I’ve progressed through my contract.

Part of that confidence stems from my experience on my third seat, as part of the shipping finance team in the firm’s Athens office. Here I’ve had the chance to be involved in incredibly high value transactions, all with a number of cross-border elements. I’ve found huge responsibility even as a junior team member, simply because of the number of matters and the smaller team size. It’s been a brilliant experience.

What would you say sets Norton Rose Fulbright apart from other law firms?

A huge selling point, both in terms of its standing in the market and as a place to work, is the way that the firm is structured around industry sectors. Having that focus allows it to stand out and focus its resource on what it does well. That way, lawyers have a deep understanding not only of their area of law (such as corporate) but of their particular sector too.

And what would you say to a graduate thinking about careers in law?

Apply for any legal work experience you can, such as vacation schemes. While I didn’t do a vacation scheme at Norton Rose Fulbright, I would really recommend it, having mentored vacation scheme students during my time here. It’s a great way of seeing the firm’s lawyers at work and gives you an idea of the nature of the work and the office dynamic. It also means you can start building a network right from the start.


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