I got my job at Kennedys by applying for a 2016 Training Contract as a graduate. I passed the psychometric tests and then undertook a telephone interview. Subsequently, I was invited to take part in an assessment centre at the firm. Shortly afterwards I was informed by HR that I was being offered a training contract. A key part of applying for a training contract is researching those where you can envision yourself working in. I made a few training contract applications whilst in University and whilst doing so came to understand the distinct difference in the culture within various law firms. Kennedys stood out to me as a firm that provided interesting work within a collaborative and cohesive environment.
The typical role of a trainee is to assist with the work and matters assigned by fee earners (solicitors, senior associates and partners). Depending on the work done by the team which the trainee sits in, you are required to contribute as part of the team. Such tasks include drafting meeting/ attendance notes, reviewing documents as part of disclosure, researching points of law and preparing/compiling document bundles.
The tasks which a trainee will be undertaking can wildly vary. For example, as a trainee in the Commercial division I drafted contractual terms and facility agreements. In my current seat, in the Insurance/Reinsurance team, I have written reports to insurers on the merits of recoveries, reviewed documents for disclosure and negotiated/liaised with loss adjusters.
In addition to work specific training, I have attended learning and development courses on improving time recording, drafting training, and research/analysis techniques. Training and development workshops are a common occurrence as well as regular legal talks from legal experts and barristers.
I am currently undertaking a training contract at Kennedys. The training contract is a 2 year contract, in which trainees spend 6 months sat within 4 different divisions of the firm. Trainees are required to complete at least 1 insurance and 1 liability seat –there are a variety of industry areas within each division. For example within the insurance division there is; construction and property insurance, reinsurance, product liability insurance, professional indemnity and financial lines insurance.
There are further seat options such as the Commercial division and other distinct practice areas such as Marine and Aviation. There is also the option for trainees to spend one of their 6 month seats on secondment, either in the Hong Kong office or with one of the firm's clients. Overall, Kennedy’s training contract provides a good scope to work within a variety of industry areas.
During my Commercial seat, I was involved in a large deal for the acquisition of an aircraft. I was given a lot of responsibility as I was required to assist a partner with the process of the exchange of contracts and the Escrow agreement process on the purchase of the aircraft. Being involved in this work, and witnessing what occurs behind the scenes in such large cases, was a hugely interesting and eye-opening experience. Whilst in my current seat within the Insurance/Reinsurance team, I presented in front of senior partners on the following topic: “What are the implications of Brexit on the Insurance Industry?”.
What I most enjoy about working at Kennedys is being involved in work which is stimulating and challenging. There is an emphasis on learning by being involved on matters. The more you can do, the greater the responsibility you are given. No 2 working weeks are the same and I enjoy being able to work on a variety of matters with different fee earners. I never really wanted to work somewhere where the work is repetitive or monotonous and that does not happen at Kennedys.
Starting a new seat is always a challenge; you have to get used to a whole new way of doing things after having just learnt how your previous team works! Nevertheless, I have found my supervisors to be supportive and empathetic to the adjustment required to seat changes. They have provided practical advice and suggestions which has made the process of seat changes easier. I have also found Kennedys’ newly qualified solicitors to be friendly and happy to assist if I am unsure as to how a certain task needs to be completed. They understand the pressures of being a trainee as they were in the very positon of being a trainee not that long ago.
The number one thing I like about Kennedys and working here is the people. There is a real sense of teamwork that flows from the partners to junior fee earners and the administrative staff. I like that the people who work at the firm are generally approachable and that creates a really productive work environment. The culture of the firm shines through and as a trainee you are given responsibility with proper guidance to be the very best solicitor you can be.