Name: Hayden Ball
Training Contract Start Date: 12 July 2021
Current Seat: Commercial Property
What was my route to securing my training contract?
Prior to being a trainee at BHW, I worked in the NHS as a therapist. I studied my law degree, LPC and master’s degree part-time alongside my employment. This was very challenging but allowed me to develop numerous skills, transferable to the legal profession. In addition, I completed numerous vacation schemes, mini-pupillages and volunteering opportunities such as being an adviser at Citizen’s Advice. All my experiences and challenges have helped me to prepare for a career in law and ultimately demonstrate that I am committed to training to become a solicitor.
What is an average day as a trainee like?
Each day is varied and will test and develop your knowledge and skills in many ways. You have tasks that feature as part of every day, such as checking your emails and managing your diaries, which intensifies during your seat and with experience. Also, you will frequently be presented with many new and challenging tasks that will push your abilities and knowledge. These include drafting documents and meeting clients.
What do I enjoy most about my training contract at BHW Solicitors?
The level of expertise and experience at the firm is excellent and this in turn exposes you to a wide range of work and learning opportunities. It is enjoyable to be involved in such a varied range of work and also have the opportunities to draw on others experience and knowledge to further your own development and skills.
What seats have I completed so far and what have I gained from the different departments?
Commercial Property is my first seat and I have learnt so much already. It has provided all of the fundamental knowledge of working within the firm and how it operates. It has introduced me to the processes and systems used and helped to show how the different departments as one firm, work together. I hope that as I complete further seats, I will build on my knowledge that will help me have a more holistic view of a clients’ commercial objectives.
Do you have much contact with clients?
The level of client contact has been pleasantly surprising for me. You are given a level of responsibility and exposure to clients that gives you the opportunity to develop your skills in communication and build confidence to interact with clients within different settings.
What has surprised you most about your trainee experience so far?
I have been surprised by the level of opportunity to attend networking events and have felt part of the firm from day one. It provides you with a sense of belonging and pride, knowing you are trusted to represent the firm outside of the office environment. Not to mention it is usually an opportunity to have some fun (remaining professional of course) and meet new people.
What has been the highlight of this seat so far?
When I started my seat in Commercial Property I was apprehensive, having never really felt that I quite understood it. Fast forward to the end of the seat and it’s a different story entirely. I have developed significantly whilst being in the department and has demonstrated yet again that hard work, willingness to learn and a supportive environment can help you flourish. Don’t give up on what is difficult, as overcoming those challenges it usually what provides the biggest rewards.
What is the culture of the firm like?
The firm has an open-door policy and encourages everyone to ask questions and learn from one another. It is a supportive environment that encourages personal development. Let’s not forget about the important things though, regular ice creams throughout the summer along with many other sweet treats and fun events to keep morale boosted!
What is my top piece of advice for those trying to secure a training contract?
Begin as early as possible, learning about the profession and what you envisage your career to be like. It is difficult to know what life holds for you but do your research as there are many factors to consider in trying to obtain a training contract, such as the type of firm and culture, area of law you wish to qualify into, location and work-life balance, but to name a few. Once you have done this you can concentrate on those firms that you think are right for you and get involved with all that they offer such as online events, social media and vacation schemes. This will help you to demonstrate that you are not just sending out as many applications as possible without thought. Your interest and knowledge of your chosen firms will then come across.
Make sure applications are completed well in advance of the deadline to ensure it isn’t rushed and doesn’t reflect a lack of preparation or care (it will come across!) Attention to detail is everything and this is your chance to be noticed, for the right reasons. Know the firm and go that extra mile by trying to learn more than what is on the firm’s website. A cliché but true, be yourself!