How the graduate got the job and why they chose your company
I was keen to apply to a firm which provided me with international opportunities, be it an international secondment, engaging with a global client portfolio or the opportunity to work on multi-jurisdictional matters. Clydes' international presence fit that perfectly.
I was offered a training contract with the firm having first been a paralegal in the Employment department. I was fortunate to secure the position despite with no prior experience in the field. The role provided me with the opportunity to display my skills and abilities and I was delighted to secure a training contract shortly thereafter. This quick transition is reflective of the opportunities available to junior members at the firm. What you put in is what you get out and the firm certainly supports you in this.
Training structure and what the graduate’s role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
Having had litigation experience as a paralegal both at the firm and elsewhere, I knew that this was the route I wanted to explore further during my training contract. Now nearly at the end of my training contract, I have completed seats in Professional Financial Disputes (London), Real Estate (Guildford), Insurance Litigation (Dubai) and Employment (London or more accurately home given the pandemic!) Each of these departments has been my first choice and the firm has supported me in securing these seats during each rotation. I will soon be qualifying into the Employment department in September.
As a trainee at Clydes you are treated as a valued member of the team and this means you are trusted with a varied and high level of responsibility, client contact and the opportunity to participate in external meetings. This really acts as a catalyst for your confidence and professional development. The employment team is one of the busier teams in the firm and this allows for trainees to be actively involved in a variety of contentious and non- contentious employment law issues. Some of my responsibilities have included attending trials at the Tribunal and Court, researching niche points of the law, drafting and advising on contracts, policies and settlement agreements, producing templates and scripts for grievance/disciplinary hearings and drafting witness statements.
What training the graduate has received
At the beginning of the training contract, trainees engage in a 3 week bespoke and comprehensive LPC programme which is tailored to the typical kinds of work you will be involved in at Clydes. Following this, many departments also hold department specific training at the outset of each seat rotation. This gives you a strong foundation into the different areas you will encounter and the procedures, templates and materials available to trainees, together with an insight into the team. This training continues throughout the seat with trainees also having the opportunity to present on a particular matter or legislative / case update.
Firm wide, there is further training sessions in the form of other departmental training on a particular practice area or topic but also general lunch time L&D (learning and development) training. I have found these to be extremely informative as they allow you to keep abreast of the latest developments within the legal sphere. Throughout the year, Clydes also holds a number of client events such as seminars from barristers at leading chambers or talks from top internal and external figures discussing a focal issue at the time.
Challenges and Highlights
As a trainee you tend to set a high bar for yourself as you want to meet the expectations of your supervisor, partners and the team. This means that at times you can end up juggling a number of tasks with competing deadlines. Whilst the notion of declining work always seem daunting, it is important to remember that by taking on too much work it is not always possible to complete each piece with the attention it requires. It is far better to manage your work effectively and efficiently and on the few instances when it may not be possible for you to assist any further to simply confirm this. I have always found that if I am unable to move around my other tasks or if I have been unable to find assistance from other trainees, everyone has been extremely approachable and understanding when you speak openly about not having enough capacity to take on further work.
The highlight of my training contract has been my international secondment to Dubai. The welcoming and friendly nature and general warmth of the office really matched the warmth of Dubai! It has been an invaluable experience in which I have been able to forge strong professional and personal relationships.
One of the pieces of advise I received at the outset of my training contract was "you should treat all fee earners that you work for as your clients" and this has certainly been my outlook. It changes how you view your work and your presentation of the same and I would certainly recommend all trainees to do the same.