Finance partner Flora McLean explains why a team-focused culture is important to her.
I didn’t read law at university;
I read politics, philosophy and economics. I always said I wouldn’t be a lawyer but when I left university my elder brother said he thought I’d really enjoy being a solicitor.
I moved to Freshfields because it’s a very collegiate environment.
I could never work somewhere without that team-focused culture. I actually started my career at A&O and had been opposite Freshfields on a few deals. I liked that the Freshfields finance department was a more versatile, broader kind of experience; less siloed than A&O. It's definitely a place where people are generally happier working and achieving things in teams than individually – people who want to have fun together, work together, support each other, and have a laugh together.
There is no typical day.
During office hours I tend to have quite a few meetings and calls – both deal-related and non-chargeable work like partners meetings, work allocation, trainees and recruitment. It tends to calm down at about 5pm or 6pm and I will then usually try and crack on with a bit of ‘heads-down’ work.
I love London.
It’s such a diverse, vibrant place. You can do anything you want to.
We give trainees a lot of responsibility –
but there’s no culture of having to be at your desk at all hours. Bizarrely though, some of my happiest times have involved long hours. But that’s when the team pulls together and achieves a great result for the client. Even if you've had a tough negotiation, it’s fantastic if you feel you’ve achieved something.
Freshfields is an excellent place to start your career.
The training is fantastic; it’s a supportive and collaborative firm; and you’ll be on great deals working with great people for great clients pretty much from day one.
In your interview, make sure your answers are authentic.
Find out about the firm, but don’t tell us what you think we want to hear.
I would advise trainees to be themselves.
It’s a piece of advice that’s given often, but that’s because it works. Show your enthusiasm and ask for work – there’s nothing worse than having too little to do, try to learn and get involved.
Responsible Business is very important to the firm.
I’m trustee of the Walking with the Wounded charity. I actually introduced the charity to the team here who do social impact bonds. And I met Prince Harry!
Freshfields in three words: high-performance, client-focused and fun.