Event summary: First Year Lawyers Top 100 2019

On Wednesday 11th September, we welcomed 114 of our most engaged first year lawyers on the network to kick-start their career in commercial law by meeting directly with representatives from ten leading global law firms. At this exclusive event, our talented members gained unique insights and received invaluable advice on every aspect of the application process and life in a global law firm.

The day started off with some warm up networking.  This allowed our members to get to know one another and build their personal network. We followed this by a session with two of our Bright Network alumni, Emma Burton and Shanuk Mediwaka. They told their stories on how they secured Training Contracts and vacation scheme opportunities and gave their opinion on how to make an application stand out.

We then heard from our first panel of the day. This panel featured representatives from Addleshaw Goddard, Baker McKenzie, CMS, Macfarlanes and Osborne Clarke to discuss the subject of ‘What to Expect from a Career in Commercial Law.’ The members had the opportunity to ask their questions and gain all the insights that they need to flourish in every step of the application process. They heard that ‘no day is the same as any other’ when you’re working on transactions or M&A. and they were advised to ‘be proactive in managing your career – it’s in your hands, so make the decisions you want to make’.


This exciting panel was followed with what many members said was the highlight of the day: structured networking. This was a chance for our members to do two hours of networking and build relationships with the 10 firms we partnered with: Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst. Baker McKenzie, Clyde & Co, CMS, Macfarlanes, Norton Rose Fulbright, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith and Slaughter and May.

The panel discussions and structured networking gave me a deeper insight into commercial law, the differences between the firms and the impact of AI on the legal industry. It was a truly enlightening and useful experience which has made me even more driven to pursue a career in commercial law. – Annungo Tumennasan

The structured networking was followed by the last panel session of the day, on the topic of “How to Build a Career while at University.” Here the members met with Partners and Trainees who gave them top tips and advice on how to boost their careers during their time at university. The panellists told our members not to underestimate their work experience and to keep on top of commercial affairs.

Above all, all the panellists stressed the importance of presenting yourself as a diverse and holistic individual. Whilst corporate experience is important, so too are well-rounded people with rational thinking.  Another great suggestion was to ‘grab your friends and a newspaper article and debate it… get those skills going. It’s an invaluable way of learning how to form and defend your opinions when challenged’.

The day was a true success and we finished off celebrating Bright Network members who had already achieved excellence in different areas during an Awards Ceremony. These students were recognised for their achievements by some of the world’s leading law firms and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

Take a closer look at more pictures from the event here.