Alice Allen



Travers Smith fast facts:

Name: Alice Allen

University: University of Leeds

Degree and subject: 1st class LLB Law Degree

Current department: Competition

Previous departments: Dispute Resolution, Finance 

Trainee Alice Allen reflects on the support she received at Travers Smith and how the Firm has accelerated her training by trusting her with high-level work.

"I was looking for a leading Firm with an incredibly high standard of work, where I could also maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of work. Travers Smith offered this and more. With the trainee intake size and supportive culture, I knew that I could take on actual tasks and be recognised for my contribution. Moreover, I was confident that sharing a room with a partner, senior associate or an associate, whilst daunting, would be an incredibly effective way of learning and challenging myself. Most importantly, Travers Smith stood out for its people. The team was professional and passionate about their work, while also being people you could talk to and have a great time with. This unique environment has supported me to build my career and access my full potential as a person and as a future lawyer. 

My Travers Smith Journey 

As you prove yourself during a seat, you are trusted with higher-level work and are given more responsibility on matters. I have been really stretched by my teams and have also been given valuable feedback. As a trainee, you are also given a chance to join a mentor/mentee scheme where you can request the "characteristics" or career history characteristics of your mentor. These sessions are flexible to your interests and needs, you can ask for advice on your career goals or for insights into challenges your mentors have faced and overcome.  

My involvement in pro bono work has also supported my development. Pro bono work is highly valued at Travers Smith. I was part of the JUSTICE Project, which aims to address the overrepresentation of black, Asian and minority ethnicities in the youth criminal justice system and issues associated with this. Travers Smith assisted the JUSTICE team to produce a report that formulated the views and experiences of individuals in criminal justice from lawyers, police, individuals, youth workers, social workers, judges, and more. I would attend and note take on working party discussions, conduct research tasks and proofread the final drafts of the report. Seeing the progression from the final working group discussions to the report's launch and how my (even small) contributions helped was immensely rewarding, especially given the gravity of the issues addressed in the report. 

My Typical Day

I typically arrive at the office at around 9 am (or earlier if I have a busy day ahead). I enjoy visiting our canteen where we have a superb catering team, providing an array of breakfast options. I see this as a chance to catch up with other trainees before work over a coffee which is a nice way to ease into the day. Trainees also usually take lunch together, and 'at desk' lunches are rare. 

I will typically check my calendar in the morning, to see if there is anything that I need to prioritise or remind my team about. My work varies from department to department, but as a trainee, I might have calls to note take on, or documents to draft and send to the other side for comments. I apply skills I developed during my degree, time management, prioritisation of tasks, efficient notetaking, and a lot of research. I also use my soft skills of networking. I enjoy going to a workplace where I feel valued, I know my team well and can contribute and learn more every day. I also appreciate how trainees are respected by our colleagues and thanked for our hard work.

At the start of a seat, departments usually put on trainee handover events or put you in contact with the trainees who went before you. Seat changes are always a bit of a challenge. It is daunting to complete six months of experience in one seat and then have to start over again and learn new ways of working. Travers Smith recognise this and provide significant support, including a mentor in each department who is available for non-judgmental discussions and to generally assist you in getting used to and doing well in a department.

The Travers Smith Culture 

I really could not have hoped for a better work culture. The Firm is really supportive, as evidenced by the seamless assistance I got as a trainee starting virtually, with daily calls from my supervisor who asked how I was finding the work and checked in on my well-being. From an NQ trainee mentor up to the managing partner, everyone is genuinely interested in scheduling calls with trainees. These calls include general chats to see how I am doing as well as discussions about my views on certain aspects of the Firm. This gives me confidence that the Firm really is one in which trainees are valued and can have our say on how things could be changed or improved. Furthermore, many of my colleagues are people I would genuinely choose to spend time with outside of work, which makes working more of a pleasure.

My Top Tips for Applicants 

  • Be your genuine self – this is the best way to ensure the Firm is a good fit for you.

  • Do not undersell yourself.

  • Reach out to people at the Firm to get an insight into what it is like here."

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