Trainee City lawyer shares his top TC ‘shocks’

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From the perks to the people, lawfluencer Ali Obeid gives followers the down-low

Ali Obeid — credit: YouTube

A trainee solicitor a month into his training contract has shared his “worst shocks” so far.

Ali Obeid, 24, is completing a two-year TC at a global US law firm in London, and said in a video uploaded to YouTube (below) how some aspects are “completely different to being a student”. These include the uncertain working hours, grasping legalese, the perks offered and the people.

When it comes to uncertain working hours, Obeid candidly shares: “One minute you’re on a break, and the next minute, you’re breaking your back doing a task that you found out five minutes ago”.

Obeid, who’s currently in his capital markets seat, says he finishes at around 7pm or 7:30pm most nights and “rarely over that”, but “it’s not abnormal to finish at 11pm if you’re working in, for example, private equity, project finance or even arbitration”.

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He goes on to say that the role trainees play “is not as big as I thought it would have been”, giving the example of amending documents without an understanding of how a deal works or working on a “minor” research task.

Other shockers Obeid has come across during his training contract so far include the “focus on finance” and the plethora of perks on offer to lawyers at his firm. “As a student my diet was controlled by my finances,” he says in the video, but now “my nutrition isn’t dictated by economics” as his firm provides “free food: breakfast, lunch and dinner”. He’s also given a £500 wellness voucher which renews annually and he’s spent on hair cuts, spa days and golf sessions.

“From my interactions, I’m yet to come across someone who hasn’t gone to a Russell Group university,” Obeid shares. Before he started he admits he feared the people would be “super smart, arrogant and maybe obnoxious” but so far “I haven’t really come across people at trainee-level that confirm those concerns”.

Obeid has often shared his backstory with followers. He was raised by a single mother, who fled to the UK from Afghanistan as an asylum seeker, and went to state school, where he was expelled three times. He was the first in his family to attend university, securing a scholarship to study political science at the LSE. He started his training contract in February 2023.

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Finally a trainee who isn’t acting like he’s closing $400m deals



Any trainee who says they closed deals (especially on their own) is pretty much lying so it’s always funny to hear trainees say this



They “closed” the coffee that was drunk by the NQ associate who was filling in the templates provided to them by the senior associate that were ultimate used, after many revisions, as part of the deal.


Large regional firm

Plenty of banking transactions get closed by trainees at my firm once the team know they can trust you. Ofcourse there is supervision, but once you have a good track record you do all the leg work and it is just a double checking exercise for the supervising lawyer. Obviously if it is a very high value or complex transaction that is a different story but deals are being closed when you aren’t at a firm that can’t trust their trainees.



Define ‘closed’ – there’s a big difference between negotiating a deal over the line and circulating some Docusign invitations..



You can 100% run your own deals as a trainee, and when I was a trainee it was actively encouraged by firm management to let trainees do so for small deals (with appropriate supervision, and someone ready to step in if need be). Obviously it depends from department to department, but a lot of commercial law is not that complicated and can easily be done by a bright and motivated trainee, particularly a third/fourth seater.



7pm finishes in cap markets at a US shop?



He did say its a bit quiet in this area atm.



Caps markets are 💀


My opinion matters

I like him he’s cool 🙂



the role trainees play “is not as big as I thought it would have been”…

This is VERY accurate. Any trainee who acts like the work they do is SUPER substantial and they are integral to the deal/transaction/matter is simply lying.

The work can be done by anyone with common sense and enough brain cells.

As a finance/corporate trainee you are simply spending your days moving information from one place to another i.e from CH to a precedent set of board mins, legal opinions, letters etc. and following instructions from trainee guides on how to complete and submit CH forms.

I also think it’s important to speak about this because the TC is heavily glamourised and made out to be this golden medal when it is just another corporate job.



It’s the means to an end which is ultimately glamourised, rather than the end itself, I think. Very few applicants I speak to are under any illusion as to what the day-to-day life of a corporate trainee is like, but they’re not really applying to do that job, they’re applying for the future prospect of a legal career on which the TC is a necessary stepping stone (and which, at the right firm, you still learn a lot by osmosis along the way).



The problem is graduate recruitment love to oversell that you’ll be flying all round the world closing billion dollar deals and negotiating transaction docs. In reality you’ll be checking for typos at short notice at 2am from a grumpy associate.


Latham 3PQE

Yes, broadly. But the trainee experience can vary wildly depending on the circumstances you’re faced with and how good you are. If you’re excellent, staffing issues and the general busyness of the team can mean trusted trainees really operate as junior associates, responsible for important work streams. Probably not much negotiating, but lots of drafting and pretty daunting, complex and high pressure administration. A super-secretary. In litigation / advisory, research / advice that goes out to the client with few edits. It’s not a walk in the park.

Obeid’s a month in. Probably still working out how to send emails without embarrassing himself. If he’s good, what’s he’s doing by seats two and three.


My opinion matters

(Watched the whole vid)



Ali’s hours are better than where I trained at (top 100 UK firm), on double trainee pay I was on, and way less responsibility than I had as a trainee. What am I missing?


Here now

Ok Mr “you won’t know the name of my firm but promise I have so much responsibility”


My opinion matters

God why are people on LC comments so gratuitously mean. Save it for the contentious seat drafting no? Deep breaths…


functional brain

He’s in capital markets which is less than thriving right now



Cap markets are just very quiet right now as he mentions. He’s had a lucky seat nothing else.



This guy is actually hilarious. Bravo. I usually hate vloggers but he’s great!



“Yet to come across someone who hasn’t gone to a Russell Group university” if you’re reading this currently studying at a non-Russell Group university don’t let it discourage you. There are plenty of firms that don’t look at something as arbitrary as where you studied. This is coming from someone who studied at a non-Russell Group university and still secured a training contract!


functional brain

Huge difference between “scoring a training contract” and securing a training contract at a major U.S. firm.

You don’t need to go to an RG to get a TC, but you’re deluded if you think it doesn’t help. Just look at the breakdowns on the most lists at places like Sidley and Freshfields.


My opinion matters

Yesyes firms WILL try to hire people from non-russel group. Just please PLEASE apply. I know it’s harder without the network of students and events telling you what to write on the application forms but there is enough info available online for you to make it anyway! (If you’re smart). Apply to 10, get 3 ACs, get 1 TC, and if this year doesn’t work out try again next year🙏🏻


Latham 3PQE

There are plenty of non-Russell group at US firms. One just made partner at Latham.



I’m very happy to here this.


7 years PQE

Came here just to bolster this point – not having studied at a RG uni hasn’t held me back.



It may be that i’m getting old, but the term lawfluencer makes me physically ill.



I like this guy. 👌🏾


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