I am now eight months into my training contract with B P Collins and am currently sitting in the private client practice group, having already completed a seat with the family practice. My time with B P Collins is flying by and writing this blog post has presented me with a good opportunity to share some of my experiences with those of you embarking on a training contract and those considering applying to B P Collins.
The structure of the B P Collins training contract is unique in offering four five-month seats and a final four month seat with the team into which you hope to qualify.
Prior to starting my training contract, I had a conversation with our HR manager, Jacqui Symons, about my seat preferences. The firm is very accommodating when it comes to this selection; I’m due to complete seats with all of my preferred teams.
I’m hoping to take away as much as I can from each seat so no experience is ever wasted. I will inevitably prefer certain seats over others but each presents different experiences and opportunities.
When I joined the firm, I was asked to complete my first seat with the family practice group. I had not studied family law at all and had not previously considered completing a seat with the team, however keeping an open mind is important and I’m glad that I was able to try something different and broaden my experience. There is an overlap between all of our practice groups, to a lesser or greater degree, and I will take forward the skills and experiences I have gained from each seat and draw on them in future practice groups.
Trainees are assigned a trainee supervisor in each seat. Both of my supervisors have been very approachable and have contributed greatly to my experience as a trainee so far. (To my current supervisor, Lucy: if you happen to read this post, this is a sincere reflection and not an attempt to get credit in the bank before my end of seat review!)
As a trainee, no one expects you to know the answer straight away but you are expected to ask sensible questions to get to the right answer. My colleagues have a wealth of knowledge and are always happy to spend time going through my work with me, which I really value. Of course, everyone is busy and these catch ups sometimes slip down the list of priorities but I try to touch base as often as possible, even if it is just a quick 5 minutes.
In my current seat, I experience plenty of client contact and have been given a fair amount of autonomy in progressing some matters. The work is very hands on – but that’s what I enjoy about it.
As I approach the halfway mark, I am keen to see what my final two seats hold for me.
It’s tempting to wish away your time as a trainee as you hurtle towards qualification, but always remember that a training contract is a fantastic opportunity to explore your options, even if this means trying something you had not considered before. It’s helped me learn to make the most of all my experiences in deciding upon my future career path.