Meet Pete and read about life as a Trainee Solicitor

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Pete Black

Trainee Solicitor

Womble Bond Dickinson

I have been with the firm since September 2017 when I joined from A levels as part of our first cohort of Solicitor Apprentices. I chose the firm because I was intrigued by the wide range of teams and the variety of work that the firm handles. I was also impressed by its size and the fact that it has such a strong presence in the North East where I have been brought up and where I continue to live. During the recruitment process it was announced that the firm was due to combine with our now colleagues in the US shortly after I joined. This was an attractive message to receive as it meant that I would be entering a Top 20 UK law firm at such an early stage in my career and I was excited by the prospects that would come along with that.

I joined the Private Capital team where I spent 4 years whilst studying for my degree with The City Law School, which allowed for some southbound travel adding to my experiences as an apprentice. I specialised in Trust and Estate Disputes whilst also spending some time working with the Court of Protection sub-team, both of which were areas of work that were both challenging and enjoyable. I became involved at all stages of the litigation process which saw me working on everything from pre-action correspondence right the way through to drafting settlement agreements and even attending trial.

Since receiving my degree I have joined the trainee seat rotation completing seats with Commercial Disputes and Regulatory as well as most recently undertaking 6 months in the Residential Property Team. I am due to hone my litigation skills once more as I marry them up with my property experience before I undertake a 6 month client secondment with our Property Disputes team. I am looking forward to this as it will be a new type of work in a new environment but I think it is also important to recognise that this is a unique opportunity that the firm provides its trainees with. There are a number of trainees who will be out of the business servicing clients in-house on secondment over the next 6 months. It goes without saying that as a trainee you will have a close relationship with clients and the firm really encourages attendance at client events and you will have a role in client meetings day-to-day.

As well as being a sociable place to work there are also a number of networking opportunities both at the firm and externally for example I am a member of both the Newcastle and North East Junior Lawyers Division as well as the Newcastle Young Professionals Forum both of which host regular networking events attended by professionals around the city and beyond.

I am now entering my final year of training with the firm and it is also my final year of study which will see me complete the SQE2 assessment. The firm ensures that I have support during exam seasons and I have regular meetings with colleagues who are at the same stage in their training as I am to discuss academic workloads which encourages us to persevere and perform both at work and in the exam hall.

I love working at the firm because it offers a friendly, inclusive and collaborative environment where your development will be supported by peers and by those tasked with developing trainees. We have a friendly graduate development team who are keen to receive feedback and they go the extra mile to ensure that the trainee experience is the best that it can be. Support in the fee earning teams is also in abundance and there is a real sense of team work encouraged by senior solicitors. At a trainee level your work is recognised and appreciated by colleagues who will try to also find the time to talk through work and point out any areas for development during your seats.

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