I started my career as a research associate in the employment, pensions and benefits (EBP) practice group (at Deringer Tessin Herrman & Sedemund, before its merger with Freshfields). EPB is an area that has interested me since university and I enjoyed that role so much that I went on to complete my graduate trainee lawyer posts at Freshfields: the lawyer post in Cologne and the elective post at the London office. For me, the most important aspect was not that I was working as a graduate trainee lawyer in a market-leading law firm - it was the exciting work and the good working atmosphere. The firm's reputation was just the proverbial icing on the cake.
Compared to when I joined the firm, everything has become much bigger but - while it is impossible to know every colleague - the merger hasn't changed the family-like atmosphere on the whole. There have been a lot of positive developments too: for example, our training programmes have developed further, so that training is definitely one of the firm's strengths. Our lawyer conferences keep us up-to-date with the most recent professional developments and they are always fun, as you have time to network with other colleagues. There are also courses offered on personal development.
For me personally, another positive change has been the establishment of a further career path alongside the path to partnership. The possibility of working as a principle associate, with the aim of later becoming counsel within the firm, suits my aspirations well. It was never my primary goal to become a partner, but I really can't imagine a better workplace - one where I can work in my field completely independently, on an international basis and on diverse subjects.