Want to know what it’s really like to be a trainee in our firm? Hear it direct from our trainees.
Navigating your first week as a trainee
"When it comes to working habits, start as you mean to go on and get into a good routine."
1. Get to know your fellow trainees
At Lewis Silkin, all trainees are enrolled in the Professional Skills Course (‘PSC’) in the weeks prior to the start of the training contract. This was a great way for us to get to know each other before starting at the firm. I encourage you to get to know your fellow trainees early on. In my first week, we all leant on each other for support - asking each other questions about IT, time recording and more generally about the office.
- Sarah Feneck, Trainee SolicitorRead more
Researching the firm for you
"Where you complete your training contract will be the most important decision of your journey so far as it will form the foundation of your legal career and will shape the type of solicitor you become."
Beginning your career at a firm which doesn't feel like home to you, could put you off a practice area you would otherwise have really enjoyed and could negatively affect your wider career aspirations. It's therefore important that you focus on applying to a maximum of ten firms, all of which you really feel you would be able to flourish at.
What is important to you?
The core element of finding the firm for you is establishing what is actually important to you. This can include important aspects of your training as well as your career more broadly, including for example:
- strength in particular practice areas;
- strong responsible business and diversity & inclusion initiatives;
- size of the trainee intake;
- a good work life balance; and/or
- good retention prospects on qualification.
- Sam Berriman, Trainee SolicitorRead more
Working in our Belfast Office
In the Belfast office, the trainee intake is small which means there is a greater emphasis on you and fantastic opportunities for significant responsibility. You can expect to work alongside Partners on a daily basis.
Lewis Silkin (N.I) LLP became an official entity in August 2021, after Lewis Silkin merged with Jones Cassidy Brett Solicitors, Northern Ireland's leading employment law firm. Forde Campbell LLC merged later, in January 2022, bringing expertise in the creative sphere, with particular focus in Intellectual Property, Dispute Resolution, Defamation, Reputation Management, and Commercial and Corporate law. Since August 2021, the practice has more than doubled in size and the desks are quickly filling up.
New office, new ideas and new colleagues with extensive and diverse knowledge and expertise, the Belfast office combines the sense of fresh possibility you might expect from a start-up company, with the confidence and advantage of decades of industry experience. It's a very exciting time to be a part of the team.
- Megan Kerr & Sarah Mohan, Trainee SolicitorsRead more
Working in our Cardiff Office
Our team in Cardiff really exemplify the firm's ethos of bravery and kindness - we both have felt supported throughout our time here, and have had the opportunity to take responsibility for interesting and challenging work.
We have both worked in the Cardiff office for over four years, transitioning from Paralegals to Trainee Solicitors and it has been a great experience. Tara is currently in her first seat, working with the Employment team, whilst Cory is on a client secondment working predominantly on Commercial contracts. Our colleagues have always been very supportive and given us lots of opportunities to develop key skills. Our team in Cardiff really exemplify the firm's ethos of bravery and kindness - we both have felt supported throughout our time here, and have had the opportunity to take responsibility for interesting and challenging work.
In the Cardiff office we have several different legal departments (including Employment, Immigration, , Real Estate, Corporate and Dispute Resolution) working together in an open plan office ,. This gives us the opportunity to easily get to know everyone in the office, mingle with colleagues at all levels of seniority and across different legal disciplines. This makes it easier when you have questions about work or what is going on in the firm more generally. While on the face of it the firm's structure looks quite traditional, with Partners, Associates etc., our community here means everyone is approachable and happy to help with any concerns or queries regardless of the department they're in.
- Tara Sayer & Cory Lyons, Trainee SolicitorsRead more
Top tips for applying for a training contract
"Knowing where to start on your application can be the hardest part. You may be wondering how you’ll ever condense years’ of study, experience and research into a few text boxes."
Where to start?
You know how you work best, so try not to doubt yourself as you go through the application process. Here’s a few tips I think are useful to get the ball rolling.
- Put your thoughts to paper. You may find it easier to initially work in a notebook or a Word document rather than within the ‘constraints’ of the online form.
- Use the application questions as a guide, but try not to focus on crafting the perfect answer straight away. Consider your studies, work experience, personal interests and your commercial awareness.
- Bullet points are great, or you could also create a table, or get creative and draw a mind map. This will highlight your strengths as well as any possible gaps, and really give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate.
- Ella Nawaro, Trainee SolicitorRead more
Skills to take you from a Paralegal to Trainee
"Although experience of working as a Paralegal is not a requirement when applying for a training contract, it helped me to showcase the relevant skills I had developed and understand the wider context within which the Training Contract application form questions were asked."
Having gone through many years of Training Contract rejection I used to look at my time as a Paralegal in a negative way, as it reminded me that I was unsuccessful in achieving my main goal of becoming a lawyer, but I have since realised that had it not been for my Paralegal experience I would not be sitting where I am today (pardon the pun).
How being a Paralegal helped me when applying for my Training Contract
Perhaps the most obvious example of how being a Paralegal helped me to secure a Training Contract, is that it allowed me to gain a greater understanding of how a firm operates, how a firm’s culture impacts the clients it works for and the way in which they conduct the corresponding work. I gained first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities facing law firms and how the role of a trainee can play a part in achieving success.
- Daniel Smith, Trainee SolicitorRead more
Navigating your first week as a trainee20 February 2023
The first week of any new role can be daunting at the best of times, so it’s natural to feel nervous about starting your training contract. Here are some reflections on my first week as a trainee and some practical tips to help you navigate yours!
Skills to take you from a Paralegal to Trainee15 December 2022
Although experience of working as a Paralegal is not a requirement when applying for a training contract, it helped me to showcase the relevant skills I had developed and understand the wider context within which the Training Contract application form questions were asked.
Top tips for applying for a training contract15 December 2022
Knowing where to start on your application can be the hardest part. You may be wondering how you’ll ever condense years’ of study, experience and research into a few text boxes.