Case study

Jessica Chapman — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Addleshaw Goddard

Jessica gained a law degree from the University of Leeds before completing her LPC with the University of Law (Liverpool). She’s now a trainee solicitor at Addleshaw Goddard

How did you get your job?

I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2018 and subsequently took a year out to travel Australia. While travelling, I applied for the Addleshaw Goddard Training Contract and, after a video interview and assessment centre, I was offered the contract to commence in March 2021.

Why did you decide to apply to Addleshaw Goddard?

I decided to apply to Addleshaw Goddard as I wanted to work at an international commercial firm with the opportunity to work on large-scale transactions. The firm's culture is a major selling point, and something I really value working here. Everybody is approachable and friendly, and happy to answer any questions you may have; which, as a trainee, is a lot.

What does your training contract involve?

The training contract involves four six-month seats, each in a different department. As trainees, we are able to rank our top five preferences for the department we would like to sit in. I am currently in my fourth and final seat in the Commercial Litigation team. My previous seats have been Corporate, Real Estate (Transactional) and Employment & Immigration.

Trainee tasks vary from seat to seat however, I would say typical tasks are drafting and research. Trainees are given a good level of responsibility and are valued members of the team.

Trainees receive training, both virtual and in person over the course of their seat and it is tailored to the seat they are in. There are also plenty of resources within Addleshaw Goddard that trainees can utilise such as PLC, Lexis Nexis, Addleshaw Goddard's research and knowledge services and numerous e-learning modules.

A particular highlight of my training contract includes assisting with the IPO of a large online retailer. There was a large amount of client contact and it was great to assist on such a large-scale transaction.

There are also plenty of networks and committees to become involved with at Addleshaw Goddard. For example, I am on the Charity Committee, Trainee Committee and am a member of both the AG Embrace and VINE networks. Joining the networks and committee's allows me to meet people from other areas of the business and build upon my network.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The variety of work trainees can get involved with is extensive, and there is always something new to learn.

For example, my previous seat was a mix of contentious and non-contentious work therefore, one day I could be attending a preliminary hearing, and the next I could be drafting advice notes on immigration queries. I also enjoy the fast-paced nature of the work, and seeing a matter through from beginning to end.

What are the challenges?

Challenges faced during my training contract vary from seat to seat. I initially found it difficult to start my training contract working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was hard to get to know the team and learn by osmosis. However, I scheduled a lot of virtual coffees with the team as a way to introduce myself, and as the Covid-19 restrictions eased over 2021 more people came into the office. I now feel that the flexible working is beneficial as it assists with work life balance.

The team come into the office two to three days a week now, with some teams having 'anchor' days so that everybody is in the office on the same day. This is certainly helpful when starting a new seat.

What advice would you give to aspiring solicitors?

Changing seat is similar, in my opinion, to starting a new job as it is a new team and new area of law. This can be a little daunting at first, but everybody is very welcoming and conscious of your level of knowledge and ability.

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