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From application to qualification

Yvonne Barry details her time so far as a Freshfields trainee solicitor

Yvonne Barry portrait

About Yvonne

When I wake up in the morning...

The first thing I do is check my Blackberry for any emails that came through overnight. Then I make my way into work – I get the train and then walk from the station to the office. That half hour is my time to put my earphones in and prepare myself for the day ahead. Then I’ll grab a coffee and start dealing with whatever is on my list of tasks for the day. I’m a big believer in having a comprehensive ‘to do’ list.

In terms of what I do during the day...

I’m currently in a corporate seat, so I do a lot of transactional work. Many of the mandates are cross-border, so we work closely with our overseas offices. A lot of time is spent corresponding with them and the other advisers involved. I help to draft transaction documents and also run my own work streams, managing checklists and document lists, and preparing step plans to make sure transactions go smoothly and nothing is missed out.

The best part of the job...

I will be doing a corporate secondment to New York, so I imagine Christmas in Manhattan will be wonderful. But the best part of the job is definitely the people I’ve met along the way. Everyone is so positive and enthusiastic. I think that being surrounded by bright people who are so engaged in what they are doing is really special, and it’s great to have that support network.

All the teams are very sociable...

During the week, teams will organise things like team dinners or karaoke nights, and some have bigger events, such as the annual ski trip – we went to Tignes this year. Each team has its own Christmas and summer parties – this year we had the corporate summer party outside in Temple Gardens which was lovely. There are also plenty of sports teams and social clubs, including the choir, which I have been involved with.

London is a fantastic city to work in...

As it’s very fast-paced, and there are so many facilities and activities on your doorstep. If you finish work a little bit earlier in the evening and want to meet a friend for drinks or dinner, you have plenty of choice.

Applying for a traineeship was straightforward...

You write a statement about yourself, which then forms the basis of the conversation if you are called for interview. There are actually two interviews – one involved an informal conversation with a partner and an associate. My experience during the interview process really made the decision for me in terms of coming to Freshfields, because I had such a good time. The second interview was an analytical one. You’re given an article to read before the interview and then you discuss what you’ve read from a legal and commercial perspective.

If I hadn’t gone into the legal profession...

I would have gone down the Masters and PhD route, and maybe then done teaching or lecturing.

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