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Career Envy

Saul Gindill: Trainee at Addleshaw Goddard Career Envy

Saul Gindill: Trainee at Addleshaw Goddard
A soon-to-be qualified competition lawyer

Saul Gindill is in his final seat at Addleshaw Goddard and will be qualifying as a competition lawyer. He thrives on advising clients and seeing how his advice translates into decisions clients make. Having worked with start-up businesses and FTSE 100 organisations, Saul’s experience at Addleshaw Goddard is an enviable one indeed…


When did you start with Addleshaw Goddard? What degree did you study?

I started with Addleshaw Goddard in August 2012, having just been away for a week with the firm to build a house for charity 'Habitat for Humanity' in Romania. I studied a law degree but took a year off after university to work out what I really wanted to do.

What kinds of industries and clients do you deal with?

I'm currently in my final seat, which is in our competition/antitrust team. The nature of the role means that I work with an incredibly varied client base in some very different industries – from healthcare, insurance and pharmaceuticals to retail, defence and finance. The clients also vary hugely, from a start-up that has developed a new product, to companies at the top of the FTSE 100. It gives you a great chance to see businesses from a whole new angle, and if you have a short attention span (like me), it's helpful to have that variation.  

How does a typical day look for a trainee at Addleshaw Goddard?

Typically I like to get in earlier than my team (about 8.30 a.m.) to check the news, read some emails and get some quiet time to plan my day. I will then start to get to work around 9.00 a.m. However, after that no two days are the same. I could have a frenetic day lined up involving several client calls or meetings, a hearing with the Competition and Markets Authority and some team strategy sessions, whilst also trying to fit my other work in around them.

Alternatively I could have a particularly knotty piece of research or advice to write, and I may stick my earphones in and hunker down to concentrate exclusively on that. There's a very good team environment at AG, so the day will often be punctuated by lunch with other trainees, associates or partners, and plenty of trips to the Costa Coffee on our firm's ground floor.

Have you worked on any international cases yet? How are they different?

The firm prides itself on its international work: I worked on a number of international transactions in my banking seat and one large international arbitration when I was in litigation, whilst the nature of competition law is often cross-border.

For example, the arbitration involved a case that was being judged on the basis of New York State law, but according to English procedural rules in London. The client was a global business that had suffered $100s of millions worth of damage in the States, and their team was split between Washington D.C., New York and London.

The international element quite often affects timings – with calls sometimes early in the morning or late at night to allow our American counterparts to join. It also meant that I had to bone-up on the key differences between New York and English law so that I could work out what was happening with the case!

What the work really showed me is that the bigger picture for our clients (and for much of the economy) is increasingly global, and so to succeed as lawyers we need to ensure that our focus in comfortably international.

Do you have to work the long hours that everyone talks about?

Sometimes you will stay late to get things done, especially when deadlines are looming. It's part of our commitment to our clients. However, long hours are by no means the norm. Accordingly, when the work load is lighter or there is a need, people aren't scared to leave on time – there's definitely no leaving-your-suit-jacket-on-the-back-of-the-chair trickery.

What’s the most exciting part the work you do?

I've chosen to qualify into competition, which is often described as an 'advisory' area. I think that probably reflects the reasons that I decided to practice law in the first place – to identify a problem, work out the issues and then advise a client of the potential options and solutions. It's exciting to see them make important strategic decisions based on the work you have done.

How are you finding life in the City? Is there a social side to work?

I've know some of the trainees in the firm since we did our vacation scheme in 2010, or even since university – so we've been friends for over four years. As a result the trainee cohorts at Addleshaw Goddard are very sociable.  Everyone at the firm, from the partners to the support staff, are very accessible, and there are plenty of organised and impromptu social events. It definitely makes it a lot easier to work with people you both respect and like!

By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutCareers.com

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