Having just completed the first seat of my training contract at B P Collins, now seems like a good moment to take stock and look back on my first few months at the firm.
Before my first day arrived I’d already had the opportunity to meet some of my new colleagues having been invited to attend the firm’s summer party at Phyllis Court – the showpiece of its 50th anniversary celebrations set on the banks of the Thames. It was a welcome chance to get to know people in a more informal setting and made my first day with the dispute resolution group a little less daunting.
When my first day proper came around there wasn’t much scope for easing into things – trainees are an important part of each department and in my first few days I was off to the Commercial Court in London to get a six-figure contractual claim issued.
“One of my reasons for applying to B P Collins was the promise of a hands-on training experience and it certainly has not disappointed.”
What this means is that you get lots of good quality experience on a wide range of matters and, for me, this is a really fundamental part of what a training contract is all about. The range of work in the dispute resolution group is particularly broad: during my seat I worked on all kinds of commercial disputes, contentious probate, debt recovery and insolvency matters, property disputes and even a few instructions relating to defamatory social media posts. It’s been extremely diverse and a great learning process.
Trainees are encouraged to participate fully in all aspects of life at B P Collins, be that social, marketing or charitable, and a few weeks ago this meant I took a trip down memory lane as I returned to my old school to attend a careers fair.
The event was very well attended and it was great to be asked so many questions by the enthusiastic students. They certainly seemed to be a lot more switched on about careers than I was at their age. I hope I was able to provide a few words of wisdom now that I am on the path to qualifying as a solicitor.
“It’s true that academics are important, for obvious reasons, but there are a lot more facets to a good lawyer than academic and technical ability alone.”
I would encourage anyone interested in a career in law to try to get some practical experience at a law firm. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything too substantial – it could just be a day or two shadowing a local lawyer – but it will help to give an impression of what day-to-day life as a practising solicitor is like.
There are a number of routes you can take on the law career path and the spectrum of different law firms and practice areas is vast. I studied economics at university and then worked for three years in a non-legal field before taking the plunge and enrolling on the law conversion course (Graduate Diploma in Law), so I for one know that it’s still possible to get into law at a (slightly!) more mature age.
I’m now a few weeks into my second seat (with the property group) and things are continuing at a fast pace. There’s an added bonus on the horizon too, as this Friday the B P Collins Bake-Off Challenge for Comic Relief promises some tasty treats!