If it’s a law career you’re after, one thing’s for certain, you’re going to have to work, and work hard, to get there. And even once you qualify, the momentum doesn’t stop, because being a corporate lawyer – or any kind of lawyer, in fact – is a fast-paced career that will keep you on your toes and (often) keep you in the office for long hours.

BUT it’s exciting and challenging, and in our heads, we also thought being a corporate lawyer would be dramatic, like it looks in Power and Suits - but that’s not so, according to recently qualified lawyer Matt Norman, from leading global law firm Reed Smith. (We’ve definitely been watching too much Netflix, then.)

Below, Matt tells us the unexpected things he’s learned since becoming a lawyer, and where a law career can take you. He also details his journey from state school to City lawyer, explaining that the industry is a lot more diverse and accessible than some may perceive it to be. Anyone wanting to work in law could learn a lot from Matt.

And you could be where he is – in the *plush* building Reed Smith occupies, with panoramic views of the City – if you apply for our Insight Into Law days, which run from 11am-4pm one day a month, from October-December 2017. There will be whole heaps of expert advice from lawyers like Matt, law application advice from the graduate recruitment team – oh, and a free lunch, of course.

But first, be sure to check out what it’s like being a corporate lawyer at Reed Smith, with Matt’s insights below…

1.”I went to a normal state school and I knew very little about law…

After completing an internship with a City firm, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I watched a lot of Suits at university, but it’s rarely like that – maybe the odd moment! But mostly not.”

2.”It’s not just elitist, middle-class, middle-aged men in these environments…

Reed Smith is very diverse.”

3.”Law is a career that is very challenging…

it can be really long hours and can mean working until the early hours of the morning or occasionally the weekend…but it’s extremely rewarding and intellectually challenging.”

4.”Insight days like the ones at Reed Smith are great because they give you an awareness of what it’s really like…

when I was younger, I was overwhelmed by all the information out there. I used to think: do I need to be going to law open days? When do the applications start? What’s a law firm even like? Am I going to enjoy the environment? I was lucky enough to get a five-day internship through my sixth form leader and when I went into the environment, I realised I liked it. I thought there was a lot of teamwork going on, the people were friendly and the work seemed rewarding. So these sorts of days are great for getting people in, if only to see how life in the City works.”

5.”Training contract applications are unbelievably competitive…

it is key that you show a real interest in the industry and the firms you’re applying to. Open days are a wonderful way of doing this”

6.”Hours vary greatly depending on the practice area you work in…

Some departments have a linear workflow, whereas in transactional teams the hours are more unpredictable.”

7.”Reed Smith has excellent perks…

we get great benefits, including pension contributions, an onsite GP, optional medical cover and huge subsidies for gym memberships which is good, and then we get bonuses too.”

*Be sure to check out the monthly Reed Smith law opportunities we have going on!*

 

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