Case study

Jon Cummings — Trainee solicitor

Employer
Addleshaw Goddard

Jon studied at University College London (UCL). He’s now a trainee solicitor at Addleshaw Goddard (AG)

I chose AG because of its great culture and high quality work. The AG training contract involves four six-month seats in which you rotate between different teams and departments within the firm. As an AG trainee, you have the opportunity to experience a broad training contract in a firm that carries out high quality work throughout a range of departments. So far, I have worked in the asset based lending, construction and global investigations teams across the finance, real estate and litigation departments. Throughout my training contract, and across different departments, I've worked in great teams that provide supportive supervision and invest in your development as a trainee.

Typical activities and responsibilities depend on the type of seat you are in. In transactional seats, such as asset based lending and construction, I have been given responsibility for transaction management, drafting and even taking the lead on smaller matters. In transactional seats your role is crucial in keeping track of the numerous work streams, which can include overseas counsel, client communications and negotiations with the other side. In Litigious seats, typical tasks include legal research, document review and issues analysis.

Each time you move seat, you will receive formal training on the key areas of law and trainee tasks relevant to your seat. These are usually provided by associates or other senior lawyers working in the relevant department and resources are made available to you following the training sessions so that you have a point of reference when you begin in practice. This helps you to quickly get to grips with the basics and hit the ground running. Alongside that, supervisors are always happy to provide informal training throughout your seat and the best training occurs when you receive feedback on work you've carried out in practice.

During my training contract, I've worked on a number of large matters including large housing developments and construction projects, receivables financing transactions and, most recently, a couple of large white collar crime investigations. This involves a range of clients including banks, developers and FTSE 100 companies, which consistently challenge you to think commercially in different contexts throughout your training contract. As a result, the work in different seats is incredibly varied and helps you to develop a variety of different skills, which will be useful to you even if you don't qualify into that particular team. This is one of the real benefits of working for a great all-round firm such as AG, rather than a firm that specialises in one particular type of work.

Starting my training contract remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging. This was particularly the case during my first seat in which we were in and out of national lockdowns. However, AG has supported its trainees with IT equipment set up for remote working from the start of our training contract. This was supplemented by a work from home allowance, which allowed us to buy IT equipment, such as additional monitors, to further enable us to work from home. In addition, the firms' set up on Teams has worked well in allowing trainees to stay connected to supervisors and other colleagues easily and efficiently. As a result, while starting from home was difficult, AG helped us to make the best of it and enabled us to learn as much as possible from senior colleagues despite a lack of face-to-face learning in the office.

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