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From application to qualification

Michael Braun looks back at his time as a Freshfields trainee and forward to his career ahead.

Michael Braun portrait

About Michael

I applied to Freshfields because...

The people from the firm I met on open days and during my vacation scheme were approachable and didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. I got the impression that Freshfields would be a welcoming and diverse place to work. My instincts proved correct.

The application process...

Was a bit nerve-wracking. Because of Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements, I had a year-long wait between the interview at the end of my vacation scheme and being offered the training contract. But being on the scheme was really handy for getting to know the firm’s workplace culture better.

My responsibilities...

Very much depended on which seat I was in. When I was in the dispute resolution group, I did a lot of research and letter-writing to courts. During my EPB seat, I not only did contentious work but also reviewed a lot of transactional documents for large deals. When I sat in real estate, I dealt with a lot of smaller transactions, some of which I saw through from start to finish.

The best part of my traineeship...

Was, believe it or not, when I was working evenings and weekends on an arbitration case. The lead partner was based in New York but regularly flew to London for team meetings. He kept everyone really close and involved, including us trainees. It was a genuinely exciting time. I’ve also really enjoyed working on pro bono cases, of which I’ve done loads!

Being a trainee in London...

Was a very exciting time. I moved to the city for my LPC. Being based on Fleet Street for work meant there were some great places to go nearby with fellow trainees for drinks or a meal.

The firm’s workplace culture...

Was inclusive from the start. For example, I was given the chance to talk about a pro bono mandate I’d been working on at our LGBT network conference in Frankfurt in 2014. For someone who was still so junior in the firm, it was a great experience to have the chance to speak in front of senior partners.

If I hadn’t joined the legal profession...

I would have become a diplomat. That’s probably because I enjoy working with languages and documents – something that I do plenty of at Freshfields.

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