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Jamie Hatzel

Trainee Solicitor

I studied Law at university and particularly enjoyed studying Intellectual Property law while I was there. I’ve also been really interested in technology since I was young. As one of the best IP and tech law firms in the country, Bristows was therefore a really good fit for me and an obvious place to apply for a training contract. I applied and was accepted in the year I graduated from university, which was 2017.

I got the job in a fairly normal way for most graduate schemes. First came an online application form, including my CV, university results to date and some short questions about why I wanted to work at Bristows. This was followed by a recorded video interview and then two rounds of in-person interviews, following which I was offered a training contract to start in September 2019. What makes Bristows stand out a little in this area is that they don’t use standardised aptitude or personality tests, such as the Watson-Glaser, which avoids any dispiriting rejections for opaque reasons. There also wasn’t any assessment centre with artificial group exercises, which I personally never got along with.

Because a training contract at any law firm has to meet certain requirements set by the SRA, the solicitors’ regulatory body, it is a highly structured process during which I’ve had a lot of training. Before even starting in September 2019, I completed the LPC at BPP University in London, which is basic vocational training for trainee solicitors, designed to give a grounding in basic concepts of practical law during a one year course. Bristows paid for the LPC for me and also gave me a significant grant towards my living costs, which helped a great deal. Bristows also paid for the Professional Skills Courses which I am required to complete during my training contract.

Since starting my training contact at Bristows, I’ve worked in a variety of different teams, learning from the lawyers who work there. These have included Patent Litigation, Regulatory (focusing on pharmaceuticals and medical devices) and a secondment to a major UK PLC in the healthcare sector. As of now (September 2020), I’m working in the Corporate, Tax and Employment team. While I’ve learned a lot from simply working in these different teams, there has also been consistent training in the form of know-how seminars throughout my time at Bristows, designed to ensure trainees have the skills they need and that we are keeping up to date on new developments in the law.

There have been some real highlights during my training contract at Bristows. One thing which stands out is attending hearings and trials in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, seeing our cases come to fruition and feeling like I had real responsibility for parts of the process. What I value most of all though is feeling like I’m constantly learning more about the law and the technology sector which I find so exciting – if you show enthusiasm, the lawyers at Bristows are very happy for you to have a go at things which are a little beyond your capabilities, such as more advanced research or document drafting, and then to provide you with pointers on how to do it better next time. They’re also all very friendly and the whole office culture is very non-hierarchical. I find it very hard to imagine myself working for any other law firm at this time in my life.