Law Training Contracts: Secondments
Law Training Contract Application Specialists
Secondments are prized by many on training contracts. They offer the chance to go abroad and do one seat – likely six months – at another of the firm’s offices. This option will be more or less likely depending on the firm that you secure a training contract at. Some firms will be able to offer secondments to only the most promising of their intake, whilst at others secondments will be much more commonplace. The big firms have expanded in recent years, or developed their relationships with other firms (potentially to the point of merging). This has led to significant presences across China, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as a burgeoning presence in Africa.
Where Can I go for a Secondment during a Training Contract?
This depends entirely on the firm that you are at or wishing to apply to. However, as an overview you will often find opportunities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York. You might also be able to go to Cape Town, Sydney, or any number of American cities if you’re with a US firm. You’ll need to research the firms that you’re looking to apply to, and speak to previous or current trainees to see where secondments might be possible. Remember that the largest US firms and the most influential multinationals are generally more likely to be able to offer you the secondment that you want.
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Why Should I Take a Secondment during a Training Contract?
Simply put, a secondment will be a huge selling point on your CV. It will make you stand out as someone who is particularly driven, willing to travel, and wants to go above and beyond the ordinary. You’ll be able to meet other people in the firm who you likely never would have otherwise, and get a fresh perspective on law through experiencing it in another country. You’ll be able to reflect on the way your own office works through comparing it to the firm’s office abroad, and perhaps even bring home some new or innovative ideas and ways of working. You’ll benefit from a warm welcome from the new office, who will be used to hosting trainees, as well as the expat social scene in the city itself. Normally, you will find a group of other trainees will be in the city too, and you’ll therefore benefit from the accelerated socialising that occurs in expat communities. You’ll be able to benefit from the very different locale in a number of ways – that might mean flying to Bali on the weekend if you’re in Singapore, or surfing if you’ve made it to Australia or Cape Town. You’ll get free accommodation through the firm, and this is generally thought to be of a very high standard by trainees who go abroad. Expect a serviced apartment in the city centre with a concierge. Generally the office that you are posted to will be much smaller than the UK office which you came from, which means that you’ll likely receive more responsibility – but might also be rewarded by more in-person training and the chance to feel like a more integral part of the team. Lastly, you might also receive some insight into another legal jurisdiction – you might be able to learn about different laws and different doctrines. This could open the door to work in multi-jurisdictional transactions, and show that you’re capable of working on the highest level internationally in future.
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How Difficult Is It to Secure a Secondment during a Training Contract?
This depends entirely on the firm. Some firms might have only one or two spots available, in which case competition will be fierce. If you’re eager to take a secondment, then ensure that you research the firms that you’re applying to. You can use BlackStone Tutors’ guides to each firm and their training contracts for this. Remember that if you can speak a foreign language, this could be both a blessing and a curse; if you speak fluent French, it could make a secondment in Paris that much more likely – but it might also mean that firm steers you to Paris and away from the secondment that you wanted in New York, for example.
Remember, a secondment can also mean going in-house with a client. This can be a very rewarding experience, as you will gain a real insight into that client’s business. If you know the field that you want to work in, then this is an ideal opportunity. If you’re set on working in finance, for example, then being able to do six months in-house with an investment bank would position you well moving forward.