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FIND OUT WHAT LIFE IN OUR TEAM MEANS FOR THEM

SAMANTHA HEWITT, TRAINEE

What's your background?

I studied Law with Canadian Law at the University of Nottingham, and spent a year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

When I joined Gowling WLG, my first seat was Property Litigation, where I got to work on and attend a case in the Court of Appeal. I then went on a client secondment to the Property and Planning team at Transport for London, which involved working on projects such as the London Plan and the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street. I joined the IT Dispute Resolution team for my third seat and had the opportunity to get involved in wider commercial litigation cases too.

During my seat in Dubai, I undertake a variety of work as I am not assigned to a specific team. I have been involved in corporate work and contentious construction, as well as international projects work. Recently I have been assisting our new tech team. 

Why did you choose to apply here?

I did a vacation scheme at the firm, where I got first-hand experience of the friendly and welcoming culture. I wanted to be in an environment where I felt appreciated and could work for high-profile clients. Throughout my training contract I have worked on major disputes and well-known cases. The firm has a reputation for hands-on training and high-quality work and, having studied abroad, the international opportunities were also an important factor for me.

What makes Gowling WLG stand out from its competitors?

There is a real emphasis on teamwork and a lack of hierarchy, which creates a friendly environment in which you can ask questions and learn. This is combined with a focus on innovation and idea sharing. For example, I and other juniors have been asked to present our views and ideas on strategy at an upcoming away day.

From a trainee's perspective, the firm's commitment to professional development is also important. More senior lawyers want trainees to be involved and ensure they provide opportunities to gain as much experience as possible. 

How did you find the recruitment process for your training contract offer and do you have any words of advice/tips on the application process?

The process is a little different now to when I applied, but I would say it's a given that you need to do your research – know the firm, know our clients and know what we stand for. Also think about what genuinely interests you, as this will show when you talk about it – whether that's a particular aspect of the work Gowling WLG does or something that is happening in the legal sector or commercial world.

How did you come to be doing a secondment in Dubai?

Prior to beginning my training contract I had always wanted to do an international secondment and had indicated this during the seat move process. International secondments can be competitive and therefore I had to interview with 3 senior members of the Dubai office, including the managing partner.

How are you finding the secondment, working in the Dubai office and living and working in Dubai?

Everyone in the office is so friendly and it's great to work on such a wide variety of things. I am gaining exposure to other jurisdictions too, including the wider Middle East region and Africa. As part of our international energy projects work, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya. At such an early stage in my career it's great to develop awareness of other jurisdictions and the types of issues clients face when conducting global business.

I had never been to Dubai prior to my secondment, but have found it easy to adjust to living here. Day-to-day life in the office feels very much the same as the UK. You can get everything you would want from the UK, with the added bonus of beaches and sunshine. Although my sentiment towards the weather may change as we approach the extremely hot summer temperatures.

What do you do outside work?

I'm trying to make the most of my time in Dubai by exploring what's on offer, including horse riding in the desert and a yacht trip round the coast. When I'm not exploring you are likely to find me in one of Dubai's many shopping malls or by the pool.

"At such an early stage in my career it's great to develop awareness of other jurisdictions and the types of issues clients face when conducting global business.''