Name: Isabelle Bastian
Training Contract Start Date: 1 October 2020
Current Seat: Dispute Resolution
What was my route to securing my training contract?
I did a law degree but wasn’t immediately sure after graduating that that’s what I wanted to do. I first explored work in another industry but was eventually drawn back to doing paralegal type work. It was this experience which solidified my decision for me, as it’s so different to studying!
What is an average day as a trainee like?
Very varied – there are lots of different things you are expected to do and can get involved in, which gives you a great breadth of experience!
What do I enjoy most about my training contract at BHW Solicitors?
There are some areas in which you can be given quite a bit of responsibility and so you have lots of opportunity to gain experience and deal with clients directly.
What seats have I completed so far and what have I gained from the different departments?
I have completed Corporate and Commercial, and Dispute Resolution. They’re very different departments but I’ve enjoyed them both equally and I’ve found that I’ve gained knowledge and skills in both. Dispute Resolution is faster paced but Corporate and Commercial really allows you the time to understand legal concepts in depth.
Do you have much contact with clients?
Yes and in all seats, although the extent may depend on which department you are in. But all in all you do get to have contact with clients whether by telephone, email, Zoom or face to face meetings.
What has been the highlight of your training contract so far?
How much I’ve learned and progressed! When I think about how I used to write letters or advice to a client…they’re definitely much better now! It’s a great feeling when you draft something for a fee earner and they send it to the client with no changes!
What is the culture of the firm like?
Attention to detail is a huge part of every department and you have to be extremely careful about the work you produce and any correspondence that you send out. Expectations are high but that’s a good thing because it pushes you to be better!
What is my top piece of advice for those trying to secure a training contract?
It’s really competitive and often academics and even work experience is not enough of a distinguisher. During interviews it’s important to ensure you come across as a flexible person who is easy to work with. In the day to day workplace, this is often what most people are looking for.
Most places want someone who is proactive, enthusiastic and happy to get involved in anything. BHW is no different in that respect. You might be expected to help out with things that you wouldn’t expect, but it teaches you to be flexible and open minded.