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🎙️ From international student to UK and NY lawyer


A LittleLaw newsletter on a Sunday? Let me explain.

Last year, we released an interview with Megan Hulme — an associate at Mishcon de Reya.

And you guys loved it (it was actually our second-most-read newsletter that year).

So, I want to do more interviews with trainees and associates to get their application tips, learn about their experiences and stuff like that.

Today, I’m sharing my interview with Gordon Chung — a corporate law associate in Baker McKenzie’s London office.

Gordon also writes and makes videos about his experience as a foreign lawyer in the UK – Gordon’s originally from Hong Kong.

Before qualifying as a lawyer in England, Gordon took the New York Bar exam and is also qualified as a lawyer in New York.

Here’s one of his videos which I thought was so useful, so I wanted to share it! 👇️ 

Enjoy the interview 😃 

- Idin

P.S. Let me know if you want more of this type of content!


So, coffee or tea?

Coffee — iced americano specifically

Good, now that’s sorted — what’s your best piece of application advice?

All the effort is pointless if you don't believe in yourself.

What’s the most common mistake people make in their law applications?

Not tailoring their application to each specific firm enough.

… and how do you fix that?

Spend at least a couple of hours to research each law firm - if you apply to 100 firms, be ready to do specific research on all 100 firms.

How can you impress in a vacation scheme?

Showcase your personality — law firms do not expect any vacation schemer to impress them with work products.

If you had to guess, how many applications did you make before you got your training contract?

I did over 30, I think!

What’s the best resource for keeping up to date on news? 

I’d watch 15 minutes of Reuters every day, which summarises the key global news.

How would you explain your role as a corporate lawyer to your grandma?

I manage big projects and have to speak to different people every day to get things done.

How do you balance your time with work, personal life and posting content?

I have specific tasks on each specific day.

Recently, I’ve forced myself to post on LinkedIn every Sunday and Wednesday, and go to the gym whenever I am working from home.

If you only do something when you feel like it, you will never stick to it.

How can someone bounce back after getting a rejection? 

Go watch the movie, TV show, anime or comic books that inspired you to chase your dream — this always works for me.

What was harder – qualifying in England or qualifying in New York? 

Doing the New York Bar was harder — I had probably done over 2,000 past paper questions before taking it!

I’m guessing corporate was your favourite seat during your training contract — what about your least favourite seat?

Umm, I would say Financial Services was my least favourite - mainly because I only spent three months there and it was my last seat.

Usually people have already made up their mind about where they want to qualify before going to their last seat and I definitely did.

Did you buy something for yourself with your first law pay cheque?

I treated a group of friends to a meal at Casa do Frango — the chicken there was great!

If you could change one thing about the world of commercial law, what would it be? 

I would want everyone to respect that others have a life outside of work.


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