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Raj Gathani - Trainee

I joined Covington as a Trainee in September 2014.

I studied Classics at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, graduating in 2006. I then spent eight years running my family’s chain of retail pharmacies and other family businesses. Having always wanted to practise law, I decided on a career change and went to study the GDL and LPC at BPP Law School.

Being somewhat older than other applicants and having had some prior business experience, I hoped to join a firm that would offer me high-quality work and responsibility from the outset. Covington’s small intake of trainees, combined with a genuinely collegiate firm-ethic, made it my first choice from the start of my application process. My background and interest in pharmacy made it impossible to look beyond Covington, whose client list contains many of the stellar names in the life sciences industry and also smaller, more dynamic clients within the field.

My trainee career so far has first taken me to the Dispute Resolution group, in which interesting and involving work seems to be in continuous flow. In a short space of time, I have helped a small software company defend a potential intellectual property infringement claim; I have assisted drafting pleadings with respect to a major piece of international arbitration; as well as attending court at a major trial. In each of these matters, my ideas and work have made a direct impact on the client and their affairs. Covington is brave enough to put a significant level of trust in its trainees, and I find such faith to be not only a great motivator to my work, but a vindication of my choice of firm.

The trust and responsibility we are given at the firm are nothing without the culture of openness that exists at Covington. The lawyers and support staff are generous with their time, experience and expertise, open to your ideas, and also cognizant of giving you exposure to learning opportunities wherever possible.

I am thoroughly excited to be at the start of my Covington journey.

Luciana Griebel - Trainee

I joined the firm as a trainee solicitor in September 2014.

Following a LL.M degree from Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, I went on to study the GDL and LPC at BPP University.

During the vacation scheme, Covington & Burling turned out to be the ideal firm for me to complete my training contract. Covington's combination of high-profile international clients and small trainee intake offers a wealth of opportunity to any trainee with a burning passion for law. There is no shortage of interesting and challenging work waiting for us.

Covington trainees are given real responsibility right from the start, with supervisors offering plenty of help and guidance. My first seat is with the international employment group, where I have already been exposed to truly international work. One month into my training contract and I have already drafted a consultancy agreement, helped prepare a multi-country review of global employment arrangements, prepared updates for clients on international legal developments and completed research into very specific areas of employment law both in the UK and internationally. I have also begun working with some of our pro bono clients.

Covington has an outstanding firm culture and trainees are part of the team from day one. While all lawyers enjoy notable reputations in their respective fields, all of them remain approachable, helpful and friendly. Encouraging those just starting out and lending them a hand, Covington lawyers make the firm a place like no other to bring out the best in a trainee - in professional legal training as well as team spirit.

Brian Kelly - Associate

I read neuroscience at the University of Sheffield and then worked for six years as medical and health journalist. It was here that I developed an interest in the law. I was particularly attracted to Covington because of its leading life science regulatory practice which was a good fit with my experience. As a trainee I worked on matters such as the Foot and Mouth outbreak, the clinical trial disaster at Northwick Park Hospital (the so-called “elephant man” trial), and anti-corruption matters in the Middle East.

In any one day I can be advising a drug company about advertising restrictions, launching judicial review proceedings challenging a decision to refuse medical treatment or attending the launch of a cosmetic product range on which I worked. Each sector has its own unique regulatory framework, making the job interesting and diverse. Much of our contentious work also has a human rights focus as it often relates to access to healthcare.

Trainees in the regulatory team provide excellent support on all of these matters and there is significant client contact. I involve them in all aspects of the work. Recently, trainees that have supported me have researched and drafted the substantive arguments on whether a claim is admissible before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Other trainees have considered whether the European Convention of Human Rights can be deployed in a case involving age discrimination in the provision of healthcare. Their input is vital.

Lisa Peets - Partner

I chair the Technology and Media team and am part of our Trade and Public Policy practices. This year will mark my 15th at Covington.

While at law school, I spent a summer interning at Covington’s Washington office. I had the opportunity to work with some inspirational and creative lawyers who clearly loved the law and the firm. So I applied when an opportunity opened in Covington’s London office.

Now I spend my days advising major innovators on the policy and regulatory issues surrounding their business. I draw from a range of disciplines, including trade, IP, data protection, procurement, and consumer protection. What I love most about my practice is that it isn’t static. Our team – trainees included – is constantly being stretched to tackle new areas. We’re also fortunate enough to have many terrific clients who treat us as members of their teams rather than as their “outside” counsels, and who trust us to regularly advise on the “bet the bank” issues. 

Our team is leanly staffed, and our trainees are central to our work. Trainees work directly with partners, are closely integrated into major matters, and interact with our clients regularly. They aren’t collating documents or standing by the printer – instead, they’re in the middle of everything we do, every day.