We caught up with Sarah, who studied Law at the University of Bristol before starting her training contract with Clyde & Co during the summer of 2020. She told us about her virtual onboarding process and how she's finding life at the firm so far.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
My name is Sarah Yeow, I grew up in Hong Kong and decided to move to the UK in 2015 to study Law at the University of Bristol. I managed to secure a training contract at Clydes after the Vacation Scheme whilst doing my LPC at BPP University. I also spent 6 months as a paralegal before starting my training contract last August.
What attracted you to Clyde & Co and the Training Contract?
I was attracted to Clyde & Co because of the exciting growth that the firm has experienced and its subsequent international breadth of work.
Clydes has an extensive global reach, doubling in size over the past ten years and expanding remarkably in the US, with three North America Offices opening only earlier this month. The international breadth of Clydes means that the work is often multijurisdictional and involves cross border transactions.
I was also attracted to Clydes because of its distinctive sector focus in various areas, including but not limited to aviation, marine and insurance. This sector focus allows Clydes to establish a deep rooted commitment to industries and encourages it to build strong relationships with clients. This, compounded with its international breadth, allows Clydes to deliver expertise that is both first-class and international.
Describe a typical day in your role
There is no typical day in my role and it often varies day to day. However, I usually start my day and log on to my computer at around 9am just to get ahead before work starts to pile up. I usually check in with Associates and supervisors I am working closely with to make sure that there is no urgent work before I get on with my tasks.
Trainee tasks typically vary depending on departments, but the usual tasks consist of research, bundling, disclosure reviews, drafting instructions to counsel or experts, drafting emails/letters to clients and taking minutes of meetings.
If I’m working from home, I also try my best to go out for a walk at lunch time as it does get a bit suffocating staying at home all day! Thankfully our offices have opened over the last month, so I have been going in about three/four times a week which has been really nice to meet other Trainees and colleagues!
How did you find your virtual onboarding process?
I started my training contract entirely from home. Clyde & Co were proactive and sent us laptops at the beginning of the training contract with start-up guides and provided IT training sessions for us online. We learnt how to use all the systems from home and we were also introduced to our team virtually. Our teams were all very welcoming and sympathetic about us having to start our training contracts from home and many welcome drinks were organised for us over zoom. Clydes adapted very well and transitioned to allow us to be able to work from home.
What have Clyde & Co done to support you in your working from home experience?
Clyde & Co have done a lot to support us working from home. All Trainees have been given an iPhone, laptop, a large desktop, headphones and a docking station to enable us to work comfortably at home. We have also been equipped with an office chair and were reimbursed for our desks that we bought to work from home.
Clydes has always been known to be a very friendly firm and even though I started from home, I feel very comfortable picking up the phone and calling associates or partners in the team, as well as messaging them directly if I have any questions. I have weekly calls with my supervising partners which has really helped me understand the work of the team as well as what is expected of me.
Additionally, Clydes has always stressed the importance of mental wellbeing and this can be especially hard when you are living at work as suddenly your living room/kitchen has also become your office! Clydes has Trainee Hiit workouts and yoga sessions organised twice a week to make sure that we stay active!
What are you most looking forward to about getting back into the office?
I am most looking forward to the social side of things, meeting my colleagues, both in my current seat and in my old! It has been a little strange that despite working with some colleagues for six months and talking to them on a daily basis, I still haven’t met them in person! I’m excited to be around other Trainees and being able to work together more efficiently, as well as learning more quickly from Associates and Partners. Lastly, I am also looking forward to more client exposure once everything opens up!
Do you have any tips for Bright Network members aspiring to join Clyde & Co?
My tip is to do your research about the firm and make sure that you understand what the firm does. Make sure to explain why you are particularly interested in the firm, but also explain why you would be a great fit for the firm as well! It goes both ways!
Clyde & Co does a lot of events with students, there are plenty of networking events and open days to attend so I would highly recommend attending these! Culture is very important at a firm, you want to make sure that you like the people you are working with!
Anything else to add?
For anyone applying for training contracts, I know what a hard process it can be. I found it especially hard when my application was rejected or when I didn’t pass a certain stage for the interview. Keep up the hard work and don’t let a rejection get you down. It’ll be worth it in the end and don’t be afraid to reach out to me if you need any advice!
To find out more about Clyde & Co and to view their opportunities, click here.