Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I come from a family of Kashmiri Pandits who left Kashmir during armed conflict in 1989. My parents moved to Singapore, where I was born and raised. It’s a vastly different place from where they were raised, so fitting in, adjustment and identity were big themes of my growing-up years. I completed two years of National Service in the Singapore Armed Forces in 2017, and studied undergraduate law at Downing College, Cambridge. I’m now training as a solicitor at Goodwin, and I’m looking forward to the day I can call myself a Londoner too.
What inspired you to apply for this role with Goodwin?
When I applied (and this is still true today), Goodwin was one of the fastest growing law firms in London. My last stint of work had been with the Singapore Armed Forces, which, like any army, is a mammoth, complex organisation with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. I thought that working in an agile, forward-looking law firm which was riding the wave of innovation would be a nice change of environment. I also felt strongly about training in an environment that was supportive of my growth. Goodwin offered me that, and the small trainee intake was an opportunity for greater responsibility and attention.
What is your role at Goodwin?
I am a first-seat trainee solicitor, currently sitting in Technology & Life Sciences (Corporate).
What has been the single most important thing you learnt so far in your job?
Being a legal advisor is a people-oriented job, a modern incarnation of the “trusted advisor”. It depends on being able to do work well, but also on softer skills: the ability to form meaningful connections, to put people at ease, to perceive and pre-empt their problems and to be by their side when they need you. For me, this humanises the work, and gives me a greater sense of involvement and fulfilment in helping clients get to the finish line.
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
As a first-seat trainee, I have many “types” of days rather than a single “normal” day.
When a deal is closing, or in particularly high gear, I have a “busy” day. I might start work at 9.30am, and work consistently on particular assigned tasks, like coordinating signings, deal documents, completion searches, for example. Depending on how well the parties coordinate, this can go into the late evening.
On a lighter day, I would start my day at 9.30am. I start by checking for new emails and prioritising my work for the next couple of days. I then work on a particular task or piece of research until lunchtime, which I have with the other trainees. Then, I’ll continue with the rest of my work, with chats here and there with some of the other associates or partners.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
The most interesting thing about working in tech and life sciences is the fascinating variety of ways in which our clients are helping make the world better. Being able to help them through key milestones in their company’s journey is fulfilling. It also gives a real insight into the corporate world, and their decision-making, whether the company is a startup or a unicorn.
What is the company culture like?
Goodwin is, first and foremost, nice. I felt it during my vacation scheme, and it’s not changed one bit since. Everyone is not just pleasant, but also thoughtful and considerate about each other. We take pride in the work we do, so excellence matters. One of the unique and less discussed aspects of Goodwin’s culture, I feel, is how comfortable everyone is with change. The firm has been growing so quickly and consistently that agility and a willingness to embrace change have become an unconscious part of the firm’s cultural fabric.
How important is diversity to you and what is Goodwin doing in this space at the moment?
Coming from an immigrant family, the merits of diversity and inclusiveness have been obvious to me through the years, and it was vastly important to me that I work in a firm that sees that too. Goodwin has a number of big initiatives about diversity, especially about promoting gender inclusion, racial and ethnic diversity, LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a role at Goodwin?
Be your best self. Goodwin is a place that recognises and values each person, with their strengths, aspirations and idiosyncrasies. If you can channel that into positivity, alongside an interest in some of the exciting work we do, you’ll make a compelling case for being a good fit here.