trainee-image_james_29-11-164

Having done a non-law degree how did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in law?
After graduating I spent some time working at a think-tank, which tied in with my International Relations degree and interest in politics and current affairs. My boss at the time was a former barrister and recommended that I might be suited to a career in law. He recommended a number of firms, including Ince, because of the international and cross-jurisdictional nature of their work. The primary sectors and industries that Ince work in, such as energy and shipping, are also inherently political, which tied in further with my interest in international relations and world politics.

How did you decide which area you wanted to qualify into?
I didn’t actually come to Ince thinking I wanted to do Aviation or EU work. I was aware of the firm’s strong maritime heritage and whilst I remained open minded I hadn’t really considered Aviation or EU Law as a particular interest. I undertook my first seat in Insurance where I sat with a partner who specialised in political risk and then did my second seat in our Energy practice. However, one day I received an email from the partner leading our EU group. He had read that I had a degree in international relations and asked if I wanted to get involved with a high-profile case concerning EU and competition law in the aviation sector. Of course, I took him up on his offer and from there I established links with the EU and Aviation teams who work closely together. I then decided to spend my third seat in Aviation, sitting with our Global Head of Aviation. Choosing where I wanted to qualify was a very natural process for me – I found that both EU and Aviation satisfied the political element that I was looking for, and I also gelled really well with the team. Relationships matter at Ince – so much is down to building personal relationships with the partners and teams you are working for. Aviation is a really friendly close-knit team, and this is one of the reasons I decided to qualify there.

Have you been involved with any business development work?
I have enjoyed doing a wide variety of business development work including attending a client dodgeball night, a treasure hunt around London, and lunch with a GC at the Walkie-Talkie’s Sky Garden. With my interest in politics, I am also an active member of the Firm’s “Brexit” team. We’re the team responsible for making sure that we stay up to date with all recent developments on Brexit so we can ensure that our clients get an accurate first response. We look closely at how proposed exit terms could affect the markets our clients operate in and their businesses. This can be particularly relevant to our clients who are outside the EU yet would still be affected by Brexit. So far I’ve been involved with helping draft material to be sent out to clients directly after the referendum, and also helping prepare and attending a seminar on Brexit.

What has changed since you became an NQ?
Since qualifying in September ‘16 I have found that I am now taking more responsibility on cases than I did as a trainee. I’m the only NQ in my groups so this has allowed me to take on a broad range of cases for a variety of different partners. The new trainees arrived shortly after I had qualified and a moment I remember well is the first year Aviation trainee approaching me to ask if I had any work for them to do! As an NQ I have an element of supervision to my work now and can be responsible for overseeing the work of the trainees and paralegals on some of the lower-value litigations. The NQ induction certainly helps prepare you for this and start seeing yourself as a solicitor rather than a trainee.

How did you celebrate qualifying?
Our intake celebrated as a group and decided to go on holiday to Barcelona together for a long weekend. The majority of my intake all went to law school together so we’re definitely quite close. It was a great weekend and definitely a nice way to start our careers as solicitors together. The firm also gives us budget for a NQ party which the whole firm is invited to attend. A few other members of my intake organised it this year and it was a really memorable night.