Qualification as a solicitor in the employment and business immigration team at B P Collins is just a week away and I have finally reached the end of an eight-year-long journey of studying and training. However, it is starting to dawn on me that this is really only the beginning!
“I have been given every opportunity by my supervisors to gain as wide and as varied experience as possible”.
The training contract at BPC has been a rollercoaster of highs, a few lows and a lot of learning curves. I have been given every opportunity by my supervisors to gain as wide and as varied experience as possible and have taken them up on all of them.
During my property seat I was given lots of responsibility at an early stage, running my own files which meant I had a lot of client contact. In family I learned that I enjoyed the buzz of litigation (attending court hearings and a roundtable meeting and rushing to meet deadlines (including literally running to the Supreme Court and battling through the tourists to issue an application in time!)). During my time in employment I particularly enjoyed collaborating and strategizing with the team, in addition to the variety of both contentious and non-contentious work. Highlights included attending the final hearing at an employment tribunal, presenting at a client’s office on diversity and equality and assisting a client with obtaining an interim injunction at very short notice before settling the claim following a judicial mediation. In my corporate and commercial seat I had lots of opportunities to work on refining my drafting skills and experienced staying in the office to help complete a deal at 1am (1am is definitely not the norm at BPC – I usually leave the office between 6 and 7pm!).
“I would recommend casting aside any pre-conceived judgements and trying a few different practice areas to find the one that “clicks”.”
I reserved judgment on which area I wanted to qualify into until I was certain. Lots of trainees start their training contracts with a specific practice area in mind and try to build their training contract around that. However, I would recommend casting aside any pre-conceived judgements and trying a few different practice areas to (hopefully) find the one that “clicks”. I could have happily qualified into any of the four seats that I sat in as I enjoyed each of them for different reasons but if I had not sat in employment I would never have known that it was “my thing”.
I would advise any trainee to keep an open mind and throw themselves into every opportunity that arises (both in terms of the work but also in terms of socialising with your colleagues and networking with clients and contacts) as you never know where it could lead you.
“I would advise any trainee to keep an open mind and throw themselves into every opportunity that arises”.
I decided that I wanted to become an employment lawyer after I finished my seat in the employment team and had a chance to reflect on my time there and what a career in employment law could hold for me in the future. Having gained a much clearer understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes throughout my training contract and with the guidance and support of each of my supervisors, I was able to deduce that a career in employment is definitely the right choice for me.
I decided to pursue a career as a solicitor when I was only 17 and I considered a training contract to be my ultimate goal. Now that I am 25 and just about to qualify in an area of law that I absolutely love, I am very excited to embark on my career, having realised that the training contract is only the first step!