Top 150 Future Leader secures training contract with Osborne Clarke

Dong Malwal, LLB graduate (2022)

What have you been doing since you left Kent?

Following my graduation last year, I completed a six-week internship at Osborne Clarke via the 10,000 Black Interns programme. As part of the internship, I completed seats in Real Estate and the Financial Institutions Group as well as a client secondment at TikTok. Following this, I was offered a training contract at the firm to begin in September 2024.

I recently featured in the Powerlist Future Leaders Magazine 2022/23 as one of the top 150 Future Leaders from African / Caribbean backgrounds. I was featured in this magazine following my success as President of the Kent International Law Society in my final year and my achievements in securing work experience placements at a number of law firms and in house legal teams, including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Osborne Clarke and TikTok.

Since securing my training contract, I have been working a Paralegal within Osborne Clarke’s GDPR for HR team which sits within their wider Employment team. This role involves assisting clients on all aspects of employment related data protection issues, with a particular focus on handling data subject access requests. Through this role, l I have been able to gain some experience at the firm ahead of starting my training contract in next year.

Tell us about the training contract you have secured:

My training contract at Osborne Clarke is a two-year period as a trainee in the London office, where I will complete four 6-month rotations across various practice areas at the firm. The firm also offer trainees the opportunities to undertake secondments with a number of high-profile clients. Based on my current experience working as a Paralegal, I expect to gain lots of client exposure during my training contract as well as opportunity to make valuable contributions to the wider firm. My training contract will allow me to learn amongst some of the best lawyers and achieve my goal of qualifying as a commercial lawyer at the end of my training contract.

In September, I will begin studying full time for the SQE LLM in London ahead of beginning my training contract next year. This will be fully funded by the firm, who also provide a grant to cover living costs for future trainees.

Can you tell us how you found out about the training contract and the application process?

As part of my internship, I had to submit a CV and a written application on my motivations for a career in Law. As part of the training contract assessment process, I had to attend an assessment centre, which consisted of a group exercise and a Watson Glaser test. I also had to attend a final interview and complete a short presentation as part of my interview.

Can you explain how your time at KLS contributed to your recent successes?

I took advantage of some of the opportunities open to us at KLS. During my second year, I joined the Kent International Law Society as Co-Equity Officer before becoming President of the society in my final year. Under my leadership, I prioritised enhancing the employability of our members by organising guest speaker events with international legal professionals allowing our members to gain insights into a range of international legal careers. This included collaborations with a number of international law firms and international legal organisations, including the United Nations, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a joint Law Societies’. Following the success over the course of the year, the society were shortlisted for the Academic Society of the Year Award. I also mentored first year Law students as part of the KLS student mentor programme in my second year.

These experiences enabled me to develop a number of skillsets, which are key for a career in Law. For example, through my role as President of the Kent International Law Society, I was able to lead panel events with legal professionals and build my commercial awareness by generating engaging discussions around a number of prevalent legal issues. Alongside this, I was able to develop my teamwork skills, organisational skills, and project management skills all of which are all vital for a trainee.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for training?

In terms of advice for students applying for training contract I would advise students to:

  1. Do your research and network. Take time to research the law firm you are applying to so that you can tailor your application to the firm. Try to attend open days or networking events at firms you are applying for so you can speak to the trainees and lawyers at the firm and demonstrate whether this would be a fit for you.
  2. Think commercially. I would encourage students to listen to watch the news, read legal articles, listen to legal podcasts, and talk to lawyers . It is important to build an understanding of how law firms operate and provide relevant legal advice to their clients. Students can build their commercial awareness through working part-time jobs and thinking about the bigger picture, including how the economic environment affects the business and their clients.
  3. Build your work experience. Use the various opportunities available at KLS to gain work experience, including Kent Law Clinic, roles on society committees and co-curricular modules. Law firms also value the experience gained from a range of work experience, including non-legal work experience as it allows individuals to develop a variety of skills which are transferable to a career in Law.