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How Goodwin's inclusive culture helped First Year Trainee, Folakemi

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background

My name is Folakemi and I graduated from the University of Kent in 2021 where I studied Law and History LLB. During my studies, I completed internships at the Financial Conduct Authority, Santander and held a Brand Ambassador position at Baker McKenzie. The summer after I graduated, I completed two vacation schemes, one being Goodwin, which I then converted into a training contract offer.

What inspired you to apply for this role with Goodwin

I was attracted to the growth of Goodwin over the last 5 years. For example, Goodwin have made many lateral hires into their core practice areas and have recently opened a new office in Cambridge. I was also attracted to their 5 core practice areas which are private equity, technology, life sciences, real estate and finance. Finally, the small trainee intake appealed to me as this will provide me with a close-knit and collaborative working environment. 

What excites you most about becoming a trainee

I am looking forward to working closely with Associates and Partners and learning how to become a successful lawyer. The great thing about being part of a smaller trainee intake is that you are given more responsibility, accompanied with training and support from your seniors. Through this, I hope to learn through osmosis and develop the skills necessary to excel in my career at an early stage.

What do you find most interesting with the sector

I am excited by the prospect of being a part of exciting deals that reflect current trends in the market such as vaccine developments as Goodwin have represented Moderna through global vaccine distribution. 

What has your experience of the culture been so far

As Goodwin have experienced intense growth over the past few years, this has created a culture that is welcoming and friendly as new joiners are frequent. I recently attended the firm’s annual summer party which was their first in-person event since the start of the pandemic. Although I was new to the firm, I was comforted by the fact that many others had also joined the firm within the last 18 months so I was made to feel extremely welcome! 

How important is diversity to you and what is Goodwin doing in this space at the moment

As a black woman, diversity is incredibly important to me, especially in the legal industry where we are significantly underrepresented. My journey to law was largely influenced by the work of my mentors, organisations and diversity initiatives by law firms themselves; hence why I hope to do the same and motivate other underrepresented groups to join the profession. 

Goodwin are continuing to address issues of race, gender, sexuality and more through their CRED (Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity), Pride and Women networks. They work tirelessly to ensure diversity is at the forefront of recruitment and retention. At one of CRED’s most recent events, a panel was held with many senior lawyers at the firm, including the Chairman, to raise questions about institutional racism and how to avoid microaggressions. 

Any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a role at Goodwin

Really research the firm to find out their key differentiators and communicate why they appeal to you. E.g. practice areas, trainee intake, growth 

Keep up to date with commercial news so that you are able to confidently discuss a story in either written or verbal form 

All experience is good experience! Ensure to call on a wide range of extracurriculars as well as work history to state why you have the necessary skills to be a successful lawyer at Goodwin!