My international secondment: Dubai

by Henry Pelling, trainee solicitor

Cityscape Dubai

We caught up with Henry to hear all about why he chose to undertake an international secondment in our Dubai office – and what he learnt during his time there.

Why did you choose to apply to Stephenson Harwood?

I was drawn to Stephenson Harwood as I thought their small trainee intake would give me more exposure and responsibility early on in my career in comparison to other city firms. 

Why did you want to join an international law firm?

I applied to Stephenson Harwood because of the truly global nature of the work and clients the firm has to offer and thought working in an international law firm would result in variety both in terms of clients and the nature of the matters. I was also really excited by the firm's willingness to send trainees on international secondments.

What made you want to apply for an international secondment?

During my placement scheme I attended a talk by Rovine Chandrasekera about the secondment opportunities in the recently opened Dubai office. Following this talk, I tracked the growth of the Dubai office, the top quality work, the high profile appointments to support the growth of the core practice areas, and the international recognition the Dubai office has received – from this, I knew I wanted to work in this environment. I also wanted to experience a different culture and a different city after being in London for a number of years.

Why did you choose to apply for the Dubai secondment in particular?

As a child I spent time in Dubai due to my parents working commitments. I had also visited other parts of the region.  Since I visited Dubai before, there has been a great deal of change and I wanted to see this for myself. The chance to work in what has become a global commercial hub with clients from all over the world in wide range of sectors represented an unmissable opportunity.

How do you think the secondment will contribute to your career development and future career progression?

Throughout the secondment I was given the opportunity to improve to work on really improving my drafting skills. Due to the size of the team, I liaised directly with clients both over email and on the phone.

The opportunity to be involved in business development so early on in my career, learning first-hand how the firm brings in business, was an invaluable experience. It has vastly improved my network of contacts internally. I would strongly recommend applying for a secondment – you get to experience a different office and working culture for six months and meet a lot of new people that you would not otherwise get to know.