Behind the scenes of a training contract


As soon as I tell young people that I am a trainee solicitor they often respond by telling me they love the US TV series Suits, a show based on a talented college dropout who works as an associate in a law firm. Despite never attending law school, along with his supervising partner, he solves all sorts of dramatic and complicated cases. The reference to Suits always amazes me and highlights how influential TV shows can be in establishing people’s opinions about certain careers.

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As harmless as these TV shows are, it is important for those considering a career in law to know the truth about what they will be signing up for.

“Law school requires a lot of time and money and isn’t something that should be done on a whim.”

Here at B P Collins, trainees are encouraged to attend career fairs, something which I am always more than happy to do. I always find these events fascinating and enjoy talking to young people about what a career in law really entails and the potential paths to it.

“I admire how so many young people – even at GCSE age – are carefully considering their futures; when I was that age I just about knew what A Levels I wanted to take!”

What is great is that so many young people are thinking well ahead, ensuring they are in the optimum position to succeed in the future and not block themselves from any potential career.

As well as attending external careers events, we recently hosted a Law Familiarisation Day for Year 11 and 12 students – a first for the firm. The aim of the Familiarisation Day was to give the students an insight into life as a trainee solicitor without making them sit in the office doing generic work experience tasks all day.

The day started with a brief presentation from our HR manager, Jacqui Symons, who explained the various paths into law. This was followed by six informal presentations, each from a trainee in a different practice group who described their work and involvement within their teams. Over lunch, the students were able to chat with the trainees informally, providing a great opportunity to get advice as well as an honest insight into what being a trainee is all about.

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Finally the students participated in a mock trial, organised by one of our senior associates. During this exercise the students were split into two teams and given a pack of papers to consider. They then had their shot at advocacy, formulating arguments to support their evidence and discredit their opponents. This was an exciting and interactive task that everyone could get involved in, although sadly, as always, only one team could win.

The Familiarisation Day was a great success and we received some great feedback from the students who were very grateful for our time.

“I’m really glad that we had a chance to talk to the students about our experiences and wish that I had been given such a great opportunity at that age.”

The benefit of this experience is that if you have not yet studied law, you often find yourself doing basic admin tasks whilst on work experience and don’t get a chance to speak frankly to those working in the firm as you feel the need to constantly impress. This is what made the Familiarisation Day so great – it was a less formal event which gave the students freedom to ask anything they wanted and not be stuck at the photocopier.

The day was such a success that B P Collins intend to conduct more of these days in the future and I encourage you to get in touch if you are interested in pursuing a law career. You never know, one attending student may one day be a trainee at B P Collins writing their own blog post!

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Posted by Lucy Newman.

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Lucy graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2011 with a degree in Politics and American Studies (International Study). She went on to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at the University of Law (Bloomsbury), before beginning her training contract at B P Collins in September 2014.
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