Apply for Couch to Coder 2024: Learn to code from scratch this summer

Applications for Couch to Coder 2024 are now open. Go from complete beginner to confident coder in just 5 weeks and learn the fundamentals of coding and software development. Plus, gain a certificate of completion for your CV and LinkedIn!

Meet Jeremy | Newly Qualified Associate at Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am a newly qualified associate in the WFW London Corporate team. I studied Classics at university and decided to pursue a legal career to use the analytical and writing skills developed while studying. I attended Vacation Schemes at a few firms, including with WFW in summer 2018, after which I secured a Training Contract for a 2020 start. During the interim, I worked in a variety of paralegal roles and also spent some time travelling, at least until Covid intervened!

Describe your journey through WFW, from Training Contact on to Qualification.

I joined WFW as a Trainee in 2020, starting out in the Assets & Structured Finance team, a typical first seat. Next, I spent time in the Real Estate and Dispute Resolution teams before going on secondment to the Assets & Structured Finance team in Athens. I returned to London with the Corporate team for my fifth seat where I was fortunate enough to be involved in several matters from the outset. The exposure to interesting and varied work as part of a welcoming and generous team was key to my decision. I applied halfway through the seat and was delighted to be offered a newly qualified Associate position with the team. I then continued with the team for my final seat before qualifying as an Associate in 2022.

What is the culture like at WFW?

While the culture can fluctuate across teams (as is normal across a global organisation), the approachable and supportive environment stand out to me. I have found that colleagues welcome input and encourage discussion, which is great for developing your technical skills and understanding the wider context of the work. It also gives you confidence that you can drop by someone's office or jump on a call to ask for advice or talk through your ideas. As a newly qualified Associate, I have found this to be invaluable when undertaking an unfamiliar task or encountering an unexpected issue, which is quite often.

What has surprised you most about being a newly qualified Associate?

One surprise has been the amount of time it can take to prepare good instructions, as it can sometimes be tricky to strike the right balance. On the one hand, you do not want to be overly lengthy and prescriptive, but equally you do not want to leave out something important. It is just one of the many things to work out as a newly qualified Associate!

What’s been your favourite project/thing you’re most proud of from your time so far?

One of the first matters that I worked on as a Trainee in the Corporate team was a joint venture in the energy sector. I initially helped with some discrete drafting tasks, but became more involved as the transaction developed. Although no single contribution stands out, I was glad to be able to help with progressing the transaction from early stages through to completion. Overall, it was a great learning experience which significantly influenced my decision to apply to the team.

What top tips would give you those wanting to secure a Training Contract?

My main tip is to focus on a small number of firms which align with your aspirations. I started by working out what I wanted from a Training Contract, such as a smaller trainee intake and overseas secondment opportunities. I then compiled a list of around a dozen firms which fit these criteria and prepared tailored applications for each one. By keeping the number small, you should be able to devote the right amount of time to each and secure a Training Contract at a firm which is a good fit all around.