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Sarah Holland, Trainee Solicitor, A&L Goodbody

As a trainee solicitor you are constantly learning

Degree Education Bachelor of Common Law (UCD 2016)
Job title Trainee Solicitor
Employer A&L Goodbody

How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in law

I did a week's work experience in a law firm when I was in 4th year in secondary school and my love of law started there! I really enjoyed the overall problem solving element of the job. I did the ALG month long Summer Internship Programme (SIP) and it confirmed my desire to be a lawyer.

Why did you decide to apply to A&L Goodbody and what was the application process like and what tips would you have for other graduates looking to apply?

Having lived and studied in America, ALG's international presence in New York, San Francisco and London was important to me. This, along with the firm's leading position in the Irish legal market encouraged me to apply for the SIP. I specifically tailored my application for ALG incorporating the firm's values and I made sure that my own personality shone through. My SIP interview was via Skype as I was studying in Chicago at the time. We covered lots of topics such as what I was doing in college, what it was like to study in the USA, and my hobbies such as singing in a choir. To use an old cliché, my key tip is-be yourself! It is not purely an interview on your academic or legal aptitude but also your life experiences and business acumen.

What does your day-to-day role involve and what do you like most about it?

Every day in work is different and I really like that. General things that I do include updating transaction documents, doing company filings, carrying out legal research and assisting my team as best I can. I was very fortunate to be involved in two interesting and fast-paced projects during my first rotation. That work was an invaluable experience and really helped me to learn how transactions work. My team really involved me in these projects and I was grateful to have the opportunity to prove myself. I like the diversity of my current role. I am part of a large corporate team specialising in mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets. The team are working on several different projects, and this gives me valuable experience across different aspects of the corporate world.

What has been a challenge you have faced and what's the biggest misconception that people can have about working in a law firm?

As a trainee solicitor you are constantly learning, you may not always know the answer or how to do something. Coming to terms with this and reassessing my expectation level for myself was a challenge but as my training continues I think I have progressed and improved. People often think that junior members in law firms only get boring repetitive tasks – this has not been my experience at all. My team really involve me in the valuable elements of the deal. They are always thinking about my development and they take time to explain transactions. What particular area do you hope to specialise in and how do you see your career developing? I have always been interested in corporate law and completed a merger and acquisitions module in university. As part of my training I'll get to work in three more departments and I am really looking forward to seeing the work that they do and how it fits into the overall work of the firm. ALG has over 30 different specialist areas so there is a great opportunity to get a wide range of experience. Irrespective of the area in which I specialise I want to develop my legal skills and knowledge over the coming years. I want to become a high quality lawyer and I have the opportunity to do that in ALG.