Helen Foster

Name: Helen Foster

Training Contract Start Date: 11 January 2023

Current Seat: Commercial Property

What is an average day as a trainee like?

In Commercial Property, the day always begins with checking through emails and noting down any important tasks that need to take priority that day. Given the high volume of work that comes through the department, it is really important to have a reliable to-do list! The day largely consists of activities such as drafting, correspondence with solicitors on the other sides of transactions, speaking to clients and general administrative tasks.

What do I enjoy most about my training contract at BHW Solicitors?

I really enjoy having the opportunity to work closely with more senior members of staff and to learn directly from them. I have always felt encouraged to ask questions and to be inquisitive about the work that we are doing, which I find is the best way to learn.

What was my route to securing my training contract?

I definitely didn’t follow the traditional path to becoming a trainee! I completed my Law degree at Oxford University in 2014 with a goal of becoming a criminal defence solicitor, but soon realised that it wasn’t the right career for me. I then spent 7 years running my own business as a pet care provider, before feeling drawn back towards a career in law. In 2021 I began studying full-time for my LPC, after which I applied for training contracts and was extremely happy to be offered a position at BHW.

What seats have I completed so far and what have I gained from the different departments?

I’m currently five months in to my first seat in Commercial Property, having previously completed 6 months as a Paralegal in the Corporate and Commercial team. I’ve found it extremely useful to experience the different paces of the two departments, as well as the different types of work involved. For example, in Corporate and Commercial, I found that there was a lot more drafting involved, whereas Commercial Property has provided an opportunity for more interaction with clients.

What is my top piece of advice for those trying to secure a training contract?

I would say that the key is to believe in yourself and what you can bring to the table. Given my slightly unusual path to law, I was slightly nervous when making my application, as I wasn’t sure how it would be seen. However, I’ve come to learn that my experiences are definitely more of an advantage to me than a hinderance.

What has surprised me the most about my trainee experience so far?

Probably the amount of responsibility that is given to trainees. It feels like you are genuinely involved in the transactions and as you become more familiar and comfortable with the work being given to you, the fee earners allow you to take more of a leading role in transactions where appropriate.

What advice would I give to someone who wants to apply for a training contract at BHW?

I would say that it’s important to consider your individual skills and attributes that you think will make you suitable for the role, in order to stand out from the crowd. It’s crucial to show that you are passionate about your future career and that you have thought about your goals and where you want to be.

What is the culture of the firm like?

I have found everyone at the firm to be extremely friendly and approachable from the outset. It doesn’t feel like there is a hierarchy in place where you shouldn’t speak to partners or ask questions. There is a real effort within the firm to encourage socialisation outside of work with your colleagues, whether this be through attending networking events on behalf of the firm, joining the weekly running club, or organising department team-building activities like LaserQuest!

What has been the highlight of this seat/your training contract so far?

For me, the highlight has been the massive improvement that I’ve seen in my confidence whilst working at the firm. The way that the partners encourage you to learn and develop your skills has had a real impact on the way I’m able to present myself and my ideas.

Do you have much contact with clients?

It does depend on the department, but I have found in Commercial Property that I am in contact with clients on a daily basis, whether this be phone calls or emails.

Published by

Categorised in: , ,

Tags: , ,