Chris Smith

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Law
Job title: Senior Associate Attorney
Subject of study: Law (European)
Year of graduation: 2010
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Griffiths & Partners

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Upon graduating from Exeter, I went on to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP Holborn, having secured a training contract with Macfarlanes LLP. I completed my training with Macfarlanes in 2014 and qualified into their commercial real estate team. I stayed at Macfarlanes until the end of 2019 and then moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands in January 2020 to work for a prestigious firm called Griffiths & Partners, where I am currently a Senior Associate Attorney, working on a variety of real estate and corporate matters.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I had always enjoyed research tasks at school and considered myself a good problem solver. My teachers pointed me in the direction of law and I also spent a couple of days at Freshfields one summer, and a week in a law firm in Metz, France as part of a language exchange trip when I was in my GCSE year. I really enjoy that no day or transaction is the same. The best feeling is when you have a happy client at the end of a transaction and you have helped them to reach their desired goal. Real estate particularly fascinates me and I relish working on development projects from planning phase through to completion and opening. With real estate, I love the tangible aspect of being able to physically see what you have been working on.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I played for the university tennis team and the law school’s softball team.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The small group seminars were run really well and were a great opportunity to get a better understand of the principles that were presented at lectures and apply them to specific scenarios. I also enjoyed that the Maitrise class was around 15 people so I got to know my peers very well and we had a lot of fun during our final year in Rennes.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I relished the campus lifestyle with great facilities, but with the city centre just a short walk away. I met some amazing friends through halls, my course, sports and general nights out, many of whom I am still friends with today.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I wanted to combine law with my French skills and Exeter offered a renowned LLB (Maitrise) program. I was very impressed with the campus when I visited for my interview and I got a good feeling from the professor who would be running the Maitrise course. The university’s sporting prowess and the indoor tennis facilities were also a big draw.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

My degree was a great foundation for the skills required on the Legal Practice Course (LPC). The LPC was very much scenario focused and gave me the opportunity to work on typical client issues/problems that we needed to apply the relevant law to, in order to come up with the correct answer/solution, which is essentially the role of a lawyer.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Make the most of any open days/evenings run by a firm on or off campus and the law fair. These are invaluable opportunities to get to speak to a wide variety of people within the legal sector, and you should not be afraid to ask any question, no matter how stupid you may think it is. When it comes to making applications to law firms, be it for open days, vacation schemes or training contracts, make sure you spend sufficient time on the application and tailor it specifically to the firm you are applying to. Re-read it before you submit it and get a friend to read it too for any errors as a great application can end up being discarded for a simple typing error.

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently very happy in my role here in Turks and Caicos, enjoying the beach, sunshine and trying to travel as much as possible. I can see myself staying here for the considerable future. If I were to return to the UK, I would probably look to get into a General Counsel role and, having worked on a much broader spectrum of work and transaction types here than in the UK, that should stand me in good stead.


Similar Alumni

Amy Carter

Withers LLP. I was fortunate enough to graduate with a training contract offer from Withers LLP. I studied my LPC at BPP in Birmingham before moving to London to start my training contract. I qualified into the Charities and Philanthropy team in 2015 and was promoted to Senior Associate whilst on maternity leave in 2021.

Rachel Fowler

Mourant Ozannes (Jersey) LLP. After completing a masters in European Law in France, including a 5 month placement at the European Commission in Brussels, I trained as a solicitor with Hogan Lovells in London and qualifying into the infrastructure team.