What attracted you to a career in law?
I have always found the legal profession fascinating, especially Court work and disputes. I recall being in secondary school when I first became attracted to a career in law. This was following some work experience I did with Transport for London’s in-house legal department where I got to shadow solicitors and sit in a number of Court tribunals and hearings. It was from that moment that I decided I wanted to study law at A-Level and then onto degree level.
Which departments did you train in?
I joined Ellisons as a paralegal in the Insurance Litigation department which is where I sat my first seat as a trainee solicitor. I then trained in Private Client for my second seat, Dispute Resolution and Insolvency for my third and Corporate Commercial as my fourth and final seat.
Tell us more about your training contract
My training contract was an equal mix of contentious and non-contentious work. I was able to gain practical experience dealing with both private and commercial clients as well as participate in a number of client networking events. I worked very closely with the Partners who supervised and reviewed my work regularly. As a trainee, I had the opportunity to meet and interview clients. I would then be tasked with progressing their matters under the supervision of the Partners where I gained exposure to case handling and file management. I was also able to attend a number of Court hearings where I was required to assist Counsel and take comprehensive notes in order to type an accurate attendance note of the parties’ submissions and final Judgment. I would then report back to the fee earner handling the case. As a trainee, you are tasked with looking into a lot of complex legal areas, as each client matter presents its own niche complexities. I was tasked with a lot of legal drafting and research which would include reading and researching case law and reporting back to the fee earners with my findings.
When did you know you wanted to work in Dispute Resolution?
I always knew that I wanted to work in a contentious area. I was lucky enough to have two contentious seats here at Ellisons. My first seat was in Insurance Litigation and my third seat was in Dispute Resolution and Insolvency. It was towards the end of this latter seat that I knew I wanted to qualify into that department and specialise in Insolvency and Debt Recovery. I enjoyed the team’s specialist nature and varied caseload, which includes both corporate and personal insolvency matters and acting for insolvency office holders, companies and individuals, as well as charge holders and banks. I particularly enjoy the contentious insolvency work which involves investigations and fraud, where I get to attend a number of Court hearings on a regular basis.
What would your advice be for someone applying for a training contract?
I would advise anyone looking to apply for a training contract to try to get as much experience in a law firm as possible. It is invaluable experience and will ensure a strong start to your legal career. Starting at Ellisons as a paralegal really helped me gain exposure to running cases and understanding the law firm as a commercial enterprise. This is experience that you don’t gain when studying at an academic level. Client care, due diligence and navigating legal software is something you can get a head start on if you go out and get experience working in a law firm. This will make you a stronger candidate when applying for a training contract and will give you a lot of talking points during your interview.
Have you had a particular mentor within the firm, or someone who stands out as having assisted you during your time here?
We have a training principle and a learning and development manager here at Ellisons who meet with the trainees regularly to discuss their experiences and needs. I found these meetings useful as they gave me an opportunity to discuss any feedback I had received and talk about my future career. Having these meetings helped me reflect on my personal development as I slowly transitioned from a first seat trainee to a fourth seat trainee.
Both Scott Porter and Lyndsey Squirrell have been supportive mentors since starting my seat in the Insolvency team. They operate an open door policy and are always on hand to assist with any queries I have. Both have extensive knowledge in the field and I have learnt a great deal from observing them both. I have regular catch ups with my team members who give me regular feedback on my work and performance, as well as discuss areas of improvement and provide advice on how I can reach my goals. This has really helped with my transition from a trainee to a newly qualified solicitor.
What were you looking for in a law firm to continue your career upon completion of your training contract?
Having knowledgeable and supportive colleagues is really important. I was looking for a successful firm that was unstuffy and had passionate lawyers with interesting and varied caseloads.
It was also equally important for me to qualify with a firm that is fun and has a great social life both with staff internally and with the clients!