I joined Addleshaw Goddard's Leeds office in January 2019 as a paralegal in our Transaction Services Team. I was aligned to the Leeds Corporate Finance department and quickly became involved in many deals and worked closely with all members of the team. I then applied for my Training Contract through the internal process where I was sponsored and backed by two Partners and was successful in my application and interview in summer of 2020.
Starting as a paralegal allowed me to gain an insight into the firm and what the culture is really like and how their trainees would be treated. The friendly and inclusive culture mixed with the collaborative approach the firm takes to train people confirmed to me that this was the firm I would like to progress my career at. The offices are open plan which creates a non-hierarchical environment. Everyone is super supportive and will go out of their way to help you with your work.
My training contract consists of 4 x 6 months seats. My first seat was in Commercial Litigation and was mostly virtual and working from the office was optional. We had team calls throughout the week where everyone would check in so although we were mostly working from home, you would never be left alone and the support was always there if you needed it. I am currently in my second seat based in the Corporate Finance department and we are now splitting our time between working from the office and home.
There is a lot of training and support during each seat. Each department has its own specialist weekly training sessions for the trainees where they go into further detail about different aspects of their area of law. There is also a wealth of information and resources available to trainees on our intranet that covers almost everything as well as each department having a team of knowledge lawyers who are always happy to assist and guide you in the right direction.
As a trainee, you will be entrusted from the start and be given a lot of responsibility. In litigation I would do the first draft for a wide range of documents such as letter before actions, witness statements, advice notes and settlement agreements / letters. I would also be responsible for liaising with third parties (such as counsel and experts). One of the highlights of my seat would be prepping for and attending a preliminary trial hearing and receiving judgment in our favour. Another highlight was towards the end of my seat I was able to run a few smaller cases on my own (with supervision available when I needed it). I am currently in Corporate, the department I originally paralegalled in, which has been great as I am already familiar with the work and get to work on more complex documents which has helped enhance my drafting skills. In both departments, I have never felt lost or out of my depth as the team will always provide you with as much support as you require and would only give you responsibility that you feel comfortable taking on.
Due to AG's large clientele, I have had the opportunity to work on many cross-border matters – more recently I was working on a deal that included a Malaysian entity which meant having to slightly extend our working hours to make it fit with the Malaysian working day! AG has been a great place to train and learn. Trainees are treated like junior associates and your opinion is really valued and you feel the work you are producing is appreciated. I have also had the opportunity to attend many client meetings and develop a rapport and not just be kept "behind the scenes".
It's an exciting time to join AG. As a firm there is a real push on diversity and inclusion and the firm is actively trying to better itself and we have various events and talks throughout the year on all aspects of diversity providing for many learning opportunities. The firm also has a great social culture – they ensure there is something for everyone which means all members of the team get involved. Every team will regularly have their own event and (pre-COVID), the summer and Christmas parties would be the main highlight of the year and I am very much looking forward to firm's social events restarting moving forward!