A culture of collaboration is more than a tagline for us. It’s weaved into the very fabric of the firm. So much so, that every year, trainees from our London office travel to another one of our international offices to get a better sense of the local customs clients embrace in those regions, how the firm is able to operate on a global scale, and the importance of networking with our people in those locations. Here Benjamin Davies shares what those experiences meant to him.
What attracted you to Morgan Lewis?
I chose to train at Morgan Lewis due to its reputation for diversity and for seeing its trainees as individuals. While it goes without saying that Morgan Lewis offers the opportunity for exciting work with global clients, it also provides trainees with responsibility—something that I have always enjoyed and cannot be taken for granted. Further, Morgan Lewis takes its role in the wider society seriously, which is seen through its commitment to pro bono legal services and participation in community service projects. For these reasons, Morgan Lewis was an obvious choice for me. Having recently qualified with Morgan Lewis as an associate in the corporate and business transactions team, I am reminded daily of all the benefits of training in such a positive environment.
What stood out to you about the Brussels office?
The Brussels office has real expertise in European antitrust/competition law. The office is a stone’s throw away from the European Commission and you really get a sense of being at the heart of European policymaking. This provides any trainee with the opportunity to take on responsibility and immerse themselves in a specialized team. Morgan Lewis gives you an apartment during your time on secondment—less than a five-minute walk away from the office and in the center of Brussels. This means you also get a break from the London rush-hour commute!
How did the secondment give you a better view of the way the firm operated?
The Brussels secondment gave me a better appreciation for the manner in which successful cross-border collaboration and integration between our various international offices has contributed to our success. During my time on secondment, my team worked seamlessly with lawyers throughout EMEA and the US to provide integrated teams for deals as well as high-profile investigations. A highlight of my trip was when I got to spend a couple of days in Luxembourg meeting clients and to hear a judgment being given in relation to a case we were working on with the Washington D.C. office.
Do you keep in contact with the people you worked with in Brussels?
I enjoyed great working relationships with all the lawyers and support staff in the Brussels office. I keep in touch with them to this day and will always make an attempt to meet up with them when they visit London for work. Due to its small size, the Brussels office has a fantastic and special collegial atmosphere. From the outset I was made to feel welcome and like part of the team. The team regularly took lunch together, when work permitted it.
What was your favorite memory of your time in Brussels?
Brussels is uniquely placed, making it easy to visit any European city on a weekend. During my secondment, I was able to visit Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris. Further, there is a large pool of trainees in Brussels from various international firms, so opportunities to network and make friends are plentiful. The Law Society also runs weekly social events and trips, such as to the European Commission and the European Courts of Justice.
What advice would you give others who are considering the secondment program?
I would highly recommend the secondment program to any trainee solicitor. A secondment in another jurisdiction offers a unique opportunity for development, and lessons in how to adapt to different working environments and jurisdictions, which I continue to carry with me.