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My training contract - the story so far...

19 February 2015

Being close to end of my first seat and first six months working at a law firm, it’s a good time to reflect on my experiences and hopefully reveal a little about Browne Jacobson.

When I arrived in September, I knew very little about working in a commercial law firm – or, having just finished the GDL and LPC, the demands of a full-time job more generally. More particularly, I knew nothing about the seat I would be going into. Before I came to the firm and, if I’m honest, during my early days in the seat, I struggled to tell people what “FPR” actually stood for – I am now confident in my belief that it stands for “Financial and Professional Risk”.

Perhaps at its most general, FPR is a (mainly) contentious seat dealing with professional negligence matters. In supporting other teams across the firm, I have also had the opportunity to assist in civil litigation matters more generally, allowing me, for example, to get a taste of both IP and employment disputes.

For someone of limited experience, FPR has been an excellent first seat; with so many companies and individuals, across a seemingly endless range of industries, having the propensity to act negligently, the variety of factual and legal issues I have come across has really assisted in expanding my understanding of many aspects of the law and banished any I fear had of becoming burdened by repetitive work.

As a first-seat trainee, I’ve been given a good level of autonomy, gradually taking on my own files, all the while supervised by an approachable and knowledgeable team of solicitors and non-lawyers. I’ve also been given the opportunity to attend a number of mediations and hearings.

Whilst perhaps an underappreciated facet of the training contact, I have, through the level of client contact I have had, been given the opportunity to vastly improve my “soft skills”. Where an insured person, aggrieved by the allegations against it, and its insurer, ever mindful of the cost of litigation, have conflicting opinions as to the best course of action, it is paramount that you are able to present issues clearly and advise as to the most pragmatic compromise.

I shall be going up in the world (in terms of moving up a floor in the office) when I join the corporate team in March. Despite the fact that the work will vary greatly from that which I have experienced to date, I hope to build upon the skills I have learnt during my time in FPR.