Trainees are expected to take on real work right from the start - it can be terrifying, but the adrenalin and the support network are amazing.
Year of Training:Second
Current Seat: Onshore Private Client
What’s life been like at Farrers so far?
Certainly varied! I have worked with, and got to know, so many different people at the firm. I’ve learnt not only a lot about different areas of law but I’ve gained commercial experience and a better understanding of how a law firm is run. As time has gone on I’ve had more exposure to clients and been given more responsibility which has been challenging and satisfying – if a little terrifying at times!
The support network of trainees, supervisors and principal is always a great help. Being able to share experiences and ask for advice not only makes the whole experience more comfortable but you’re constantly learning not just about the law itself but about every element of providing first class legal advice.
Happily, given the variety of clients and the range of work we do for them, there are always plenty of training sessions for both trainees and the rest of the firm on the law as well as legal and business skills.
Did you know what the firm was like before you started?
I first heard of Farrers when someone at law school told me you had to be royalty to be offered a training contract – a comment that I couldn’t help but see as a challenge. After some research I discovered that Farrers’ practice covered the areas of law I had begun to take an interest in (IP and family law), so I applied to attend an open day. The atmosphere was friendly, and the tasks we were given were very business and marketing focused, which was the first time I’d come across lawyers who talked about the law as a business.
After the open day I applied for a vacation scheme. I spent a week in both the Private Client and Commercial Property departments (I even went on a site visit with Commercial Property). I was really impressed with how much effort people put in to involve me in ‘real work’ even though I was only there for a two-week vac scheme.
It just goes to show that the best way to find out about a firm is to go and have a look for yourself. And don’t believe everything people say.
What drew you to law in the first place?
Before coming to Farrers I worked in the fashion industry. Even though I loved the creative elements of fashion, I needed more of an intellectual challenge. Law has given me that, and I still get to be part of a business, thinking creatively, making commercial considerations, and ultimately providing a service to clients. Of course the law is vital, but without understanding how businesses work, you can’t be a good solicitor. I also like the fact that law offers a structured career path – a two-year training contract where you can try different types of law and then a clear way of progressing.
How would you describe the working culture at Farrers?
Expectations are high, but the atmosphere is one of encouragement and support. Without exception everyone is clever but not intimidating. The partners are approachable and are keen to involve trainees in the work they are doing. The atmosphere varies across different departments but as a trainee the 6-seat training programme is a useful way to get an idea of how things work.
What advice would you give aspiring lawyers?
Given I am still an aspiring lawyer I can only repeat what people have told me: get as much legal work experience as you can, immerse yourself in the law before you even begin applying, and stay open minded about what sort of law you want to do. Having a sense of humour helps too.