We caught up with Aurelia, who completed a Vacation Scheme with Covington this summer. In this interview she details what makes Covington stand out, what it's like to work in the team and her top tips to future applicants
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into law
My name is Aurelia and I am currently studying the PGDL. I am due to commence my training contract at Covington in September 2022. My undergraduate degree was in medicine, and after I graduated, I spent some time as a junior doctor before deciding to explore a career in law. I was always interested in development of new drugs and the processes required for them to reach the market, from designing the drug to clinical trials. It was also important to me that I was able to continue applying the knowledge I had gained in my undergraduate degree, and this path seemed the best way to do so!
What stood out to you about Covington?
I was interested in Covington due to the nature of their work in the life sciences sector, and their clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. I was already familiar with some of the big developments in the medical field they were advising in, as I had read about and witnessed some of these projects whilst I was at medical school. Because of my background, I was also interested in the opportunities during the training contract for secondment to Brussels, where a seat is offered in competition law. One of the consequences of Brexit is that the pharmaceutical industry in the UK have to reconsider the current framework of drug research and development, and this extends to compliance with current EU regulations and trading with the EU after the transition period ends in January 2021.
Additionally, the small intake appealed to me, as I was keen to work at a firm where I was able to receive mentoring and have more responsibility during my training contract. After speaking to some of the trainees, I felt that they were well-supported in their roles.
What is the culture like at the firm?
One of the things that sets Covington apart from other firms is its collaborative culture. Teams work together frequently and have a common end-goal, which helps to encourage the collegiate atmosphere.
I have heard from current trainees that everybody at the firm is approachable and supportive, and that partners often take the time to give feedback on work. I experienced this myself during the virtual vacation scheme. I was able to meet with my supervising partner to discuss my interests in life sciences and to give me advice on pursuing a career in law, in addition to talking about the work he was involved in.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
As a career changer, I would encourage anyone who is considering changing their career paths to utilise the networking opportunities offered by law firms to find out more about them. It was a good way for me to gain insight into the firm culture and ask more questions about the type of work they do and more specific questions about working at the firm.
Another thing I found useful was using the available resources on the internet to look at the firm background and their profile. This was one of the first steps of my application process, but it was the most time-consuming. This gave me enough information to shortlist the firms that I wanted to apply for, based on their main fields of work, application process and structure of their training contract. As I was in full-time work, the timing of the vacation schemes was important to me as well, as I had to make sure that I was able to take annual leave!
How did you find the virtual vacation scheme at Covington?
I participated in the virtual vacation scheme this summer. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused massive disruptions in the application process for many firms, but luckily, Covington were able to offer a virtual scheme instead. I was initially concerned that this would mean less exposure to the firm and that it would be difficult to communicate with the other vacation scheme participants, but it was successful in the end. We were given talks by partners about their various practice areas, and we had plenty of opportunities to connect with one another in the form of team projects and virtual socials.
Interested? Find out more about Covington and the opportunites they have available.