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From application to qualification

Katie Stenstrom details her time so far as a Freshfields trainee

Katie Stenstrom portrait

About Katie

I applied to Freshfields because...

I took part in the Sutton Trust’s Pathways to Law programme, so I had experience of magic circle law firms before I’d started university. I didn’t visit Freshfields on the programme but afterwards I knew that I wanted to join an international law firm – and Freshfields fitted the bill perfectly. It also helped that, in my first week at King’s, Freshfields organised a lunch with its trainees for all the students on my course!

I found the application process...

Fun and informal – very different to my experiences with other firms. In fact, I was disappointed when the first interview ended as we were having such a great conversation. The second interview, which covers your commercial awareness, was very stimulating as well. The interviewers wanted to see how I could think on my feet by asking my opinion and then asking me to argue the opposite, but I never felt like they were trying to trip me up.

My day starts...

Not too early, thankfully. I get into the office between 8.30 and 9.30am, depending on how busy I’m going to be that day. I also try to meet up with LPC friends for breakfast once a week before I start work. It’s always good to catch up and find out how their training contracts are going, whether it’s with Freshfields or not.

My responsibilities...

Include amending transaction documents, drafting letters and emailing different parties on the deal. Research also takes up a lot of my working hours – clients and people in my team often ask me to find out if there is legislation or case law that supports their commercial strategy or legal situation.

The best part of my training contract...

Is the amount of support I get from my supervisor and other associates. They don’t expect me to know everything and don’t mind when I ask lots of questions. They also give me plenty of responsibility and accept that I will make the odd mistake because, as a trainee, I’m still learning. But ultimately that’s the best way to develop.

Being a trainee in London...

Means I’m exposed to the firm’s nerve centre, which is invaluable. And I really love being based in the world’s second greatest city after Manchester, where I come from!

The firm’s workplace culture...

Is very friendly, diverse and inclusive. People here come from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, which makes it really interesting. Being part of a large intake of trainees who did the LPC together means that I’ve got lots of friends to go for coffee or after-work drinks with. We work hard here but we try to socialise as much as possible – recently my intake went for dinner and bowling together, and a few of us went go-karting with the vacation-scheme students.

 

If I hadn’t joined the legal profession

I’m not sure what I would have done, as I never really had a plan B. Visiting some of the big law firms before university and doing work experience placements while studying made me feel a legal career was perfect for me – and I still feel that way now.

View of Chrysler building and a Freshfields lawyer laughing in the office
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