Why did you apply to the TRPS?
I first heard of Ince & Co while interning at a cargo airline in Shanghai, shortly after the firm opened its Beijing office. Preliminary research revealed that Ince had a global reputation as a leading maritime firm, with expertise in multiple sectors including aviation, insurance, and energy. Moreover, past TRPS testimonials indicated that those on the scheme were able to get involved in real legal work. As a graduate with an international background and a keen interest in shipping and aviation, I was eager to gain further insight into the firm, and the TRPS was an excellent opportunity to experience the firm’s culture firsthand.
What was your favourite piece of work that you completed?
At Ince, trainees and TRPS candidates alike are encouraged to take on work from any practice area, so during my two weeks there I was exposed to a diverse range of contentious and transactional shipping, energy, insurance and aviation-related matters. I carried out research, attended seminars and networking events, drafted memo’s, and even attended court in order to observe the cross-examination of an expert witness.
One of my favourite tasks involved drafting an email to a client summarizing my research regarding the relevance of the Bribery Act to a specific term of a contract. Not only was the subject matter interesting, but I was also extremely appreciative of the fact that the partner was willing to take the time to give me some excellent advice and constructive criticism.
What was the most challenging aspect of the TRPS?
One of the most challenging aspects of the TRPS for me was approaching partners for work. Unlike previous experiences at other firms, where busy-work was often handed to me on a platter, TRPS candidates at Ince are encouraged to be proactive and seek out work from different practice groups. Although this mirrors the trainee experience and allows those on the scheme to meet people across the firm, approaching a busy partner can be rather intimidating.
My initial apprehension was entirely unnecessary. The culture at Ince is very friendly, and everyone from trainees to partners is approachable and down-to-earth. There is a collegiate atmosphere that is reinforced by the open-plan layout of the office, and there is always someone on hand to provide support.
What tips would you give to others when preparing for a placement scheme?
To be honest, there isn’t a lot you can do to prepare, as placement scheme experiences can be so varied. Stay on top of commercial news, and if you know which departments you’ll be sitting in, it might be worth doing a little research on any recent developments in the law, and any interesting matters your supervising partner have been involved in.
Other than that, the best piece of advice I can give is not to stress too much. It’s important to remember that the recruitment process is a two-way street. If you have managed to land a place on a vacation scheme (which is a feat in itself, given the competition out there), then the firm must have some measure of faith in you. No one is looking to trip you up. The placement scheme is your opportunity to find out more about the firm, it’s culture, and whether it’s a good fit for you.
What are you most looking forward to about your training contract?
I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with new clients and learning about new sectors from colleagues who are among the best in their respective fields. Trainees at Ince are able to take on real responsibility- indeed, depending on the practice group some trainees are able to run their own cases- in a supportive environment. I am excited about finally starting on the path to becoming a lawyer.
Do you have any plans between now and starting your training contract?
I am currently working as an investigator on the Bribery & Corruption team at the Serious Fraud Office, living out my childhood crime-solving dreams. Ideally, I’d like to continue in that role until May, and then spend a few months backpacking around Asia.