I applied for a vacation scheme in January 2015. I filled out an application form, was invited to an assessment centre in February and was then accepted onto the vacation scheme. I had a final interview at the end of my vacation scheme and had heard I had the job by August 2015. I chose Burges Salmon because it had a collaborative culture and high quality work which was comparable to city firms but with a better work/life balance.
As a trainee solicitor, my role varies from department to department. In some departments I would be more involved with clients, like going to client meetings or answering their queries, or I would be liaising internally to help manage transactions. In my current department I am drafting documents, researching and carrying out administrative tasks such as proof reading and bundling.
We receive training throughout the two years of the training contract and then beyond; this varies from a three week induction which includes the professional skills course and a general introduction to the firm, to departmental training and then firm-wide training on basic topics like contract law as well as topics like US tax or the implications of new law for our clients.
At Burges Salmon, trainees rotate for 6 four month seats with a compulsory seat in Dispute Resolution. This is different to some law firms but it means you experience a wider variety of work and departments and can work with more people throughout the firm.
My personal highlight was working on a range of deals for one client and being invited out to dinner with them once the deals were completed. This was a real privilege because it felt like I had built up a good rapport with them personally . In addition, trainees can work on some really interesting projects/pieces of work and you can learn a lot about different sectors. For example, I was tasked with researching what would happen to witness evidence if a witness died before trial. It can be challenging but is very rewarding.
I am given a good level of responsibility and I can do some really good quality work here. The firm is genuinely supportive and collaborative and everyone is really friendly. I love living in Bristol and I can walk to and from work. There are a lot of volunteering opportunities so you can help the local community. And there’s a cake trolley on Fridays which is a nice treat at the end of the week! The work is interesting, the culture is great and as a trainee, I appreciate feeling supported and valued.
I do face some challenges in the role. The hours are certainly longer than I anticipated – I usually work from 9.00 until 6.30 and then there are the late nights on top. When I first started working here I felt really overwhelmed and found the adjustment incredibly difficult. The HR team were amazing and provided advice and support, as did my supervisor. I have settled in now and am much happier.