My name is Lauren Fretwell. I am from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and graduated from the University of Nottingham with an MSc in Biology in 2022. During my degree, I completed various research, laboratory, and bioinformatic projects focused on the lifecycle development of an immunological agent, from identifying cellular targets to advancing this research to potential vaccination development programmes. Whilst I enjoyed the comprehensive written and data analyses of Biology, I was less excited by the laboratory environment. I was keen to be involved in more varied work that applied similar transferrable skills, coupled with significant relationship-building/networking, in a more fast-paced and high-pressured environment as seen in city law firms. This led me to applying for a Vacation Scheme with Goodwin.
Prior to attending University, I have always had a keen interest in sport and have been fortunate to have been an England Karate representative for seven years. I continued this throughout my time at University, where I was able to represent the University of Nottingham as a Sport Scholar, Karate Captain and Vice-Chancellor’s Medal Awardee. I also enjoy spending time outside fishing, with nature, and with friends and family.
What inspired you to apply for this role with Goodwin?
As a scientist-by-training, Goodwin stood out to me from the offset with its rapidly developing technology and life sciences sector. From the outside, the firm appeared to have exactly what I was looking for: authentic and long-standing relationships with clients throughout their business lifecycle, dynamic specialism in its five primary industries, and continued, expeditious growth in the London circle.
Goodwin is unique in its commitment to supporting clients at all stages of their corporate lifecycle, from emerging start-ups to mature, commercial-stage businesses. Such expertise and experience drew me to the firm as it provided opportunities to develop meaningful, long-term relationships with some of the most innovative and impactful companies in the business world today.
Alongside this, Goodwin’s distinct specialisms in its five key industries, and the associated collaboration of these industries (such as PropTech and PropSci), evidences its dedication to advance and heighten its expertise for clients. This has created a compelling energy to the firm from its unique ability to support clients in all emerging/current matters, which was clearly felt in the firm’s culture throughout my entire application process.
It seemed to me that Goodwin would be an ideal place to learn and gain first-class training in an array of exciting sectors. The small trainee intake of the firm promotes an environment that would support and accelerate my continued professional development, provide ample responsibility and opportunity and actively promote professional networking for career development.
What excites you about becoming a trainee?
Following a stimulating and rewarding Vacation Scheme, I am excited to be part of a global firm that thrives alongside innovative and industry-disruptive businesses. The empowering and inclusive atmosphere of Goodwin enables trainees to be actively involved in cases from the outset, responsibilities and challenges that I am thoroughly looking forward to.
In addition, the growth trajectory of Goodwin is compelling. The firm continues to be one of the fastest growing law firms in London, and with this comes vast opportunities, both national and transatlantic, to potentially be involved in. It has been clear throughout my entire journey with Goodwin that it is just as invested in my personal development and success as it is the success of its clients – a feeling that is truly meaningful.
What do you find most interesting with the sector?
The legal sector is a dynamic and rapidly-changing field that is fuelled by change and transitions within the current environment. Most recently, the staggering advancements in both technology and the biological sciences has ignited great interest in me due to the undeniable effects and unprecedented opportunities that are arising from such developments. The current environment is a pivotal one; one that, for the first time, has driven our everyday lives to be both disrupted and connected by exponential technology. This is impacting all aspects of our lives, and Goodwin is at the forefront in identifying, adapting to and specialising in such transformations.
Because of this, the legal sector provides continually fresh, new, and varied challenges to work with, sometimes necessitating the convergence of industries, such as Goodwin’s PropTech and PropSci. Continued professional development, therefore, extends far beyond qualification and is a never-ending requirement in the industry, one that perpetually galvanizes you to stretch your skillset and professional abilities. Further to this, success extends far greater than understanding the relevant legal frameworks, a comprehensive knowledge of the broader market trends and client-specific positioning within industries is also fundamentally crucial.
Forming and maintaining long-standing professional relationships is arguably just as important as the behind-the-scenes work in the legal industry. The sector enables lawyers to commence a journey with clients and to be able to help them grow their business, achieve key milestones, and ultimately be a part of their success.
What is your experience of the culture so far?
Having recently attended the Spring Vacation Scheme with Goodwin, I have been very fortunate to experience the culture of the firm first-hand, and it has been truly memorable. Goodwin actively delivers a culture of collegiality and inclusivity in everything that it does, and this has persistently shone through. Every aspect of the recruitment journey has been thoroughly enjoyable, from the initial application process through to interviews, assessments, and the Vacation Scheme itself has been an engaging and stimulating process.
I was seated in Private Equity throughout my Vacation Scheme where I was able to meet a large number of lawyers of all seniorities, all of whom were beyond welcoming and willing to help. Every member of the team felt consistently approachable, and from this I was able to gain great opportunities in being assigned focused tasks, attending departmental meetings, and even observing a negotiation.
Having accepted a Training Contract with Goodwin, I am very excited to be a part of the incredible culture of the firm!
How important is diversity to you and what is Goodwin doing in this space at the moment?
I have always believed that diversity is central to the success of a team, and this is a belief shared by Goodwin. By fostering and encouraging the skills, strengths and perspectives of all individuals, an inclusive environment can be cultivated to promote the achievement of each individual and the team as a whole. This is championed by Goodwin through long-standing initiatives that show diversity is far more to the firm than just a statistic – it is an intrinsic value that is consistently embodied. This is evidenced by the firm achieving a plethora of diversity-related accolades, such as the Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award at the 2023 People in Law Awards.
What advice would you give for someone applying for a role at Goodwin?
The best advice I can give to someone applying for a role at Goodwin is to be your true and authentic self throughout. The firm wanted to learn about the skills that I have developed throughout my experiences, both transferrable and unique, and how these would enable me to succeed as a lawyer.
Alongside this, ensure that you are enthusiastic, engaged and consistently willing to be involved in all opportunities that are thrown your way – this shows a real desire and commitment to be a member of Goodwin and it will not go unnoticed. A genuine interest will always shine through. You will get out what you put in, so give every part of the journey 100% effort and dedication!