Name: Pavandeep Kaur
Training Contract Start Date: 1st December 2022
Current Seat: Commercial Property
What is an average day as a trainee like?
An average day starts with checking emails and preparing a list of tasks which I aim to complete over the course of the day. Generally, the list will change as the day progresses as certain tasks will need to be prioritised; nevertheless, it provides a good starting point for a structured and organised day.
Tasks tend to include reviewing replies to enquiries, drafting documents, drafting reports and setting matters up for completion.
What do I enjoy most about my training contract at BHW Solicitors?
Every day is different, because you are working on several files which are overseen by different fee earners, therefore, you get the opportunity to experience a wide range of work. You are also trusted to have a certain level of responsibility and to handle matters where the fee earner deems this to be appropriate. Therefore, I find this to be beneficial in the lead up to qualification and good preparation for handling my own caseload.
What was my route to securing my training contract?
I graduated from the University of Leicester in 2018 with a 2:1 in Law. Following graduation, I secured a job as a mental health paralegal at a high street firm in Leicester, which involved advocating for clients who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Alongside this, I studied for the LPC part-time over two years at BPP University in Birmingham, securing a distinction.
Following this, I worked as a residential conveyancing paralegal at a firm in Derbyshire, before moving to BHW’s residential conveyancing department in October 2020 (which during the SDLT holiday was an extremely busy time!). I successfully applied for a training contract with the firm in 2022.
What seats have I completed so far and what have I gained from the different departments?
Residential conveyancing is a very fast paced and pressured environment which has helped me develop skills which I can transfer to other seats. You are in daily contact with clients, lenders, solicitors, and agents, which has helped build my communication skills and develop professional relationships. It has also been a great way to build my confidence in communicating with clients and professionals, as this can be daunting following university studies.
What is my top piece of advice for those trying to secure a training contract?
Don’t give up! It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you are not good enough and don’t have enough experience compared to other candidates, but that is not necessarily true. A mistake I made when initially making training contract applications, was making bulk applications to several firms, which were not tailored or specific to the firm. A better approach is to select a few firms which really appeal to you and meet your expectations in terms of their ethics, training standards and opportunities, and really tailor your applications to each firm, whilst paying particular attention to what the firm requires from their trainees. This will make you far more attractive to firms as a potential trainee and will reflect positively in the interview process.
What has surprised me the most about my trainee experience so far?
Everyone at the firm from junior level to the more senior level are very helpful and take the time to answer your queries and develop your learning. It can feel intimidating when you are starting your training to ask questions and query why/how certain things are done, however, it is a very useful way to learn and grow, and generally fee earners appreciate you asking questions as it shows your understanding of the law and the processes involved.
What advice would I give to someone who wants to apply for a training contract at BHW?
A key skill to have at BHW is attention-to-detail. From the initial application to the interview process, make sure you have done your research on the firm and the services BHW offer. This will really reflect how important it is to you to be a trainee at BHW.
It is also important to be personable during the application process, especially with the way BHW’s culture is and the importance of the personal touch when delivering services to clients. Often potential trainees will provide rehearsed answers, which can sometimes work to their detriment.
What is the culture of the firm like?
BHW is a very welcoming, family-like firm. Everyone is interested in your progress and offers support and help. Provided you have a strong work ethic and are hardworking, there will always be opportunities for growth within the firm and you will always feel valued.
What has been the highlight of this seat/your training contract so far?
The highlight of my seat is seeing complicated matters progress from start to finish. Sometimes there will be matters which have complex issues, which cause delays with the transactions which are out of our control. Once these matters are resolved and the matter completes, there is great deal of satisfaction for both the team and the client.
Do you have much contact with clients?
I have daily contact with clients through emails and over the phone. Fee earners will also invite me to sit in on client meetings and take notes, which is beneficial to understand how to structure client meetings and how to deal with client queries.
BHW have a wide variety of clients, from individuals to companies and pension trusts, therefore, there are lots of opportunities to learn how to manage different clients.