Currently in his first seat in the commercial litigation group, Nicholas Morgan tells us what it’s really like to be a trainee at Stephenson Harwood.
Tell us a bit about you.
I went to school in Cardiff where I studied A-levels in mathematics, economics and politics. I then took a gap-year, during which I surfed and skied in California and continued to travel west through Indonesia and Southeast Asia. I then went on to study Economics & Politics BSc at the University of Bristol. Growing up, I worked plenty of odd-jobs including making coffee as a barista in a Starbucks drive-thru to labouring on a building site in the summer holidays. My hobbies and interests include rugby, road cycling and mountain biking, surfing and skiing.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in law?
I always wanted to be in a career that was business focused and commercially exciting. Of course that may be explored through any number of paths in the city, however, a career in commercial law appealed to me because of the intellectual challenge with excellent training. Good, focused training offers a platform to carve out a real career path. Training to be a commercial lawyer offered me a chance to work closely with those at the forefront of business and finance, while ultimately being in a position to acquire lots of useful skills for my future career.
Why did you choose to apply to Stephenson Harwood?
When researching legal firms as a student, Stephenson Harwood stood out to me because it offered a lot more than the average mid-size firm in the city. I was looking for a mid-size firm that valued its training programme and individual trainees. The smaller trainee intake at Stephenson Harwood allows for focused training and more opportunities to directly assist the more senior lawyers in the team. I quickly found that being able to settle into your new team as a trainee is an important part of the training contract and the structure enables me to feel valued and useful. Another standout characteristic of the firm was its client base. It's a great bonus to join a firm with so many FTSE 100, AIM listed and industry conglomerates on its books, because with that comes a wealth of diverse work.
Do you work closely with senior colleagues and partners? Tell us about your experiences.
Almost all of the work I do is with senior colleagues and partners, which provides a great insight into their thought processes and has been crucial to my training and progression. Some cases I work on are very complex and have been active for a long period of time. These types of cases can be difficult to get to grips with in just six months, but smaller cases do come along and that provides an opportunity to assist directly with senior colleagues.
Describe a day in the life of a trainee.
Litigation is very deadline focused, so being organised and on top of things is crucial. A huge part of the job is corresponding with the client to make sure we’re in a position to meet the deadlines and exchange all the right documents. Other tasks include attending meetings and conference calls with clients and taking detailed notes.
Can you tell us about the international nature of your work and the global opportunities offered at Stephenson Harwood?
Working in the international arbitration team offers the opportunity to work with a range of international clients, from countries including China, Africa and the US. Sometimes that requires an awareness of time-zone differences and an ability to manage your workload around that. Our international client base necessitates an international presence so the firm has ten offices around the world. There’s a wealth of opportunities for trainees to take their training to some of those destinations and complete a secondment to an office for six months.
What would you say to someone considering applying for a role at Stephenson Harwood?
You'd be mad not to apply!
If Nicholas has inspired you, find out more about our training contracts.