Ananya Agrawal, International Student & Future Trainee Solicitor

In this post, Ananya Agrawal, a future trainee solicitor at Clifford Chance, shares her journey to a training contract, including key steps she took and the importance of mindset.

If you’re an international student, also check out our Insider Guide On How To Get A Training Contract As An International Student.

The journey to securing a training contract is undoubtedly challenging for an international or a local student. I, for one, tried to redirect my worrisome thoughts to focus on the actionable realities.

I am a future trainee solicitor at a leading magic circle law firm. I accepted my TC offer while reading law at the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, a premier law school in India.

My motivation to initiate my legal career on the other side of the world arose from lived experiences. Having lived in Europe, the UK and India, I thrived amongst various cultures and diverse mindsets. With a desire to replicate the same in my career, I applied to leading global law firms in my penultimate year of law school.

As an international student, I shortlisted firms based on their global presence, inclusive culture, and core values that aligned with my own skills. Having founded Ex Curia International, a global platform for International Dispute Resolution, I enhanced my skillset as a young social entrepreneur. Naturally, I looked for a firm that appreciated and promoted innovation, resilience, and leadership.

I strongly believe that having a positive mindset and approaching the application process by removing predilections of being ‘international’ allows one to see practically what needs to be done. I see a lot of international students deterred from applying to big law firms; however, it is usually these firms that will have the ability to sponsor the necessary working visa.

Further, just because a particular firm specialises in a particular practice area should not deter one from bringing transferable skills to the role. My internships with Tier-1 Indian law firms in Dispute Resolution & Capital Market teams assisted me with developing commercial awareness for M&A case studies at ACs!

Don’t assume anything. You may have worked with a renowned organisation in your home jurisdiction. However, the key is to patiently introduce your achievements to someone who may never have heard the organisation’s name.

On a more personal note, I cannot emphasise the importance of networking. It was only after countless interactions with different ambassadors of the firm that I witnessed the firm’s values of inclusivity, nurturing ambition, and complete honesty, which I was sure would allow me to put my personality into my work. As an international student, this was very important for me, instantly making me feel at home.

In conclusion, I address every international student in the UK and abroad. While there remain many possibilities, I can promise you an enriching, albeit testing, learning experience should you choose to set out on this path.

matt oliver law career coach

Matt Oliver

Matt is a former FTSE 100 in-house lawyer, an experienced legal career coach and MD of Trainee Solicitor Surgery. He provides entry level law careers advice to students and graduates through his writing and mentoring. He also offers private one-to-one coaching to those struggling with training contract and vacation scheme applications, interviews and assessment centres. Find out more about Matt's 1-2-1 Coaching >>>>