Case study

Cameron Kang — Trainee solicitor

Addleshaw Goddard

Cameron studied at the university of Birmingham before completing a vacation scheme at Addleshaw Goddard (AG). This opportunity led to a place on the firms training contract

How did you secure your training contract at Addleshaw Goddard?

I completed the AG summer vacation scheme in 2019 and was offered a training contract following the scheme. The vacation scheme was a fantastic opportunity to experience AG's collegiate culture first-hand and to gain broad exposure to the types of work that trainees are involved in. Having greatly enjoyed the vacation scheme, I accepted the training contract at AG to commence in 2021.

What does the training contract involve?

It’s a two year programme that is open to both law and non-law graduates. Throughout the training contract, you are required to undertake four different six-month seats across various teams. My first seat was in the Construction & Engineering team and my second seat was in the Structured Finance team. I am currently in the Infrastructure, Projects and Energy team.

Throughout my training contract my supervisors have been heavily invested in my development and have consistently encouraged me to take on more responsibility. Everyone in the firm, from associate through to partner, is always approachable and willing to take the time to explain things to you.

What training have you received?

Prior to starting a new seat, you will receive formal training sessions covering the basics of the areas of law relevant to the seat. You will also undertake formal training relating to typical trainee tasks within a seat. Furthermore, given AG's strong focus on using legal technology to improve efficiency, it is now also common to receive training sessions on the various legal technology resources available to you in a seat. Lastly, there are always ongoing training sessions throughout the seat that serve as refreshers or updates on key areas of the law.

Informal training is equally as important, and this often occurs when your supervisor or other lawyers are sharing feedback with you on work that you have completed. I have found that I also learn a lot by asking questions whenever possible and by simply being curious – there is a lot to be learnt by overhearing other lawyers on phone calls in the office.

What’s a typical day like for a trainee solicitor?

The typical activities and key responsibilities of a trainee depend on the type of seat. A litigation seat may involve attending court hearings, doing document review and legal research. The seats that I have done so far have been predominantly transactional with some advisory elements too. In a transactional seat, the trainee will often be the first point of contact for the client and in any correspondence with other lawyers or other parties. As part of managing a transaction, you will also often be the person keeping track of how everything is progressing.

Drafting is another key responsibility in a transactional seat. You will be involved with drafting smaller ancillary documents as a trainee and gradually encouraged to draft or review more complex documents as you progress through each seat.

What type of work have you been involved in?

During my training contract, I have been involved with various matters ranging from the development of a large apartment complex to the refinancing of luxury hotels around Europe. I have worked with a range of clients such as developers and banks and this has challenged me to think about matters from different commercial perspectives.

The variety of practice areas open to trainees at AG also ensures that you are always developing different, but often, transferable skills in each seat.

What part of your job brings the most satisfaction?

One of the most satisfying things about the job is when you head towards the end of a seat and see how much you have learnt in a matter of months!

What are the challenges?

The transition from university to working as a trainee has been the biggest challenge that I have faced. There is a very steep learning curve and a lot of information to take in during your first few weeks. Thankfully, there is a large support network at AG.

You are allocated a trainee buddy when you start to help you settle in and also an AG mentor that is a qualified lawyer in a different team to yours. Your supervisor will also provide guidance and every supervisor understands that there is a steep learning curve at the beginning of the training contract.

My biggest takeaway from this challenge is knowing the importance of asking questions and making the most of the support available to you.

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