Our Q&As with our amazing trainee cohort continues and today, we are delighted to introduce you to Zara Todd who joined us initially as a paralegal and then was accepted on our trainee programme. We sat down with Zara to ask her a few questions about trainee life at Cleveland & Co.

What made you want to enter the Law profession?

Like many current trainees, I was initially attracted to the idea of acting as a criminal barrister. However, I quickly learnt that the industry spans far beyond criminal law and that legal professionals play a vital role in almost every sector. The legal profession is well-respected and crucial to all aspects of a functional society. I was confident that investing in a legal career was a good choice to make at a young age.

Beyond this, I was seeking a challenge. Being a lawyer often means handling complex legal matters and assisting your client in understanding and overcoming those matters. Knowing that you have helped your client to move past an obstacle or achieve a goal that they have worked hard to meet is incredibly rewarding, particularly in the context of a challenging legal problem, and I learnt early on in my career that the feeling of achievement and client satisfaction is one of the best parts about being a lawyer.

What does a typical day at Cleveland & Co look like for a trainee?

A training contract at Cleveland & Co comprises three seats which run concurrently (Financial and Investment Services Law, Commercial Law and Company Law). Therefore, a typical day is varied. I may spend the morning reviewing an investment management agreement and the afternoon responding to a client’s data protection query. I much prefer this approach to the traditional six-monthly seat rotation as it allows for a diverse workday and ensures trainees stay up to date with legal developments across multiple legal areas.

How much responsibility are you given at Cleveland & Co?

Trainees at Cleveland & Co are given a great deal of responsibility and autonomy. I regularly speak directly to clients and am trusted to complete complex pieces of work, to a high standard and by a set deadline. If a client matter relates to an area which I have experience in, I am trusted to review the matter and draft any advice or related documents to be returned to the client. Although this can be daunting at the early stages of a legal career, it has taught me to think independently, holistically and to consider all aspects that might be relevant to a client and its commercial intentions. This is much more beneficial to me as a trainee than simply following instructions and not truly understanding the wider context from which those instructions originate.

What are the best bits about working at Cleveland & Co?

I enjoy the autonomy, as it has allowed me to learn, to make mistakes, to build my own working patterns, and to understand the best way for me to approach the tasks I’m given. Each of these is crucial to any young professional. Additionally, Cleveland & Co allows its trainees to pursue the areas of law that are of interest to them. Ultimately, a training contract at Cleveland & Co allows young lawyers to quickly find their place in the profession.

One of my favourite things about Cleveland & Co, is its team. It truly is an incredibly talented group of high performing individuals who learn from, and bounce off each other, which makes for a great learning environment. Only six months after joining, I can see real progress in my work as a result and I am very excited to see how far I progress throughout the rest of my training contract.

Tell us something people might not expect about you or a fun fact?

I like to DJ in my spare time and am a big fan of tech house, drum & bass and all things electronic music.

If you didn’t choose law, what other career path might you have chosen?

Had I not pursued law, I may have considered becoming an interior designer. I enjoy using art and design as a creative outlet. Luckily, it is something I am able to pursue in my spare time!

For more information about becoming a Trainee at Cleveland & Co, please click here.

Please click here to follow us on LinkedIn to receive more of our ‘Meet the Team’ feature!