TSS Interview with Arnav Maru, International Student & Future Trainee Solicitor

In this interview, Arnav Maru explains how a more tailored approach helped him secure a training contract and the importance of coherent narratives in the application process.

Arnav is a future trainee solicitor at Travers Smith, an Oxford post-grad with an undergraduate in law from MNLU, Mumbai, India.

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

1. Can you share a brief background about your journey.

I pursued an undergraduate degree in law from Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai.

I graduated in 2021 with a B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) and then went on to read for an MSc in Law and Finance from the University of Oxford immediately after.

While at Oxford, I applied for vacation schemes and training contracts and got a Training Contract in 2022.

2. In what way did being an international student influence the firms you chose to apply to?

I started applying quite haphazardly to most places that I’d heard names of before doing more in-depth research and streamlining the application process.

The primary influencing factors were the size of their trainee intake, the number of current trainees with a similar educational background and profile, the general D&I profile of the firm and whether they had a strong practice in the areas that I wanted to qualify into.

3. What was the most challenging part of being an international student in the TC process? How did you overcome this?

Researching firms and drafting tailored answers/cover letters.

I tried to speak to as many current/future trainees at the target firms, attend firm events, and scour the internet for any helpful resources about differentiating factors and practice area strengths.

4. How did you leverage your international background when pursuing a TC?

I was able to demonstrate a strong interest in commercial law through extensive internships at commercial firms in India.

My undergraduate degree also had a corporate law honors, which helped indicate this inclination with a greater weight.

5. What is the best advice you can give to an international candidate who is just starting out or who has been unsuccessful so far?

Streamline the process, make tailored applications, and aim to make between 12-15 high-quality applications rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Try to network/talk to as many people from the firms you are applying to and use the information you get from these interactions in your applications.

Focus on building a strong and cohesive narrative rather than trying to throw as many achievements/publications/internships into your CV as you can.

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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 >>>>