Case study

Emma Coates — Trainee solicitor

Taylor Wessing

Emma studied law with an Erasmus year at the University of Cambridge, Robinson College before embarking on a training contract with Taylor Wessing

Why did you choose Taylor Wessing?

During my first year at university I attended a Taylor Wessing open day and I was completely blown away by the attitude of the people, the positive and ambitious outlook of the firm and its broad sector focus. Having not known much about Taylor Wessing beforehand, the open day made such an impression on me that Taylor Wessing soon became the one firm that I very much wanted to work for.

I took part in the vacation scheme, which was split into two weeks. I sat in private client for the first week and in corporate technology for the second. I was paired up with a buddy and a supervisor, but I also got to know the other teams really well and I found that everybody had time for me.

There were also some socials on the vacation scheme including a trip to Bounce, cocktail making, and an invitation to the Taylor Wessing summer party, so there were plenty of opportunities to get to know colleagues in a more social setting.

The vacation scheme ended with a group presentation with other students and this was a great opportunity to apply the firms forward thinking values and impress with some innovative ideas for the firm. I received a training contract offer off the back of the scheme.

What is a training contract like at Taylor Wessing?

The training contract is split into four seats, each of a six-month duration. So far, I have sat in the construction team, the employment and pensions team, and I am currently in my third seat in the banking and finance team.

Typical trainee tasks vary from department to department but examples include drafting documents or pleadings, drafting emails of advice, liaising with other solicitors on a transaction, organising and collecting documents required for a transaction, and co-ordinating cross-jurisdictional advice for clients.

In my employment seat I worked on the first draft of a grounds of resistance (the equivalent of a defence in the Employment Tribunal) for an unfair dismissal claim. In my construction seat I frequently liaised with other solicitors to ensure that transactions were running as planned and in my banking seat I have already assisted in creating a template debenture. I have also been invited to client meetings and client calls and I find this exposure invaluable to my personal and professional development. I have had a well-rounded experience as a trainee so far and have had ample opportunities to develop a variety of skills.

What training have you received at Taylor Wessing?

When I started as a trainee I had a two-week induction to bring me up to speed with the firm's technology and systems. As part of this induction we also experienced some of the firm's initiatives - we had a session on resilience and mental health and a responsible business day, volunteering at a nature reserve used by children who don't have access to green spaces. Taylor Wessing champions looking after its people and the wider community and so it was great that we experienced these values straight away.

At the start of each seat, trainees also receive department-specific training so you’re not expected to have extensive prior knowledge of the area of law that you are in. Each department also runs regular training sessions throughout the year on the latest legal and commercial developments relevant to that practice area; everyone is keen to learn, no matter their seniority.

What are the best things about working at Taylor Wessing?

I have always felt that my colleagues care about my, and the other trainees', development, and this is very important to me. My supervision at the firm has struck a great balance between having helpful direction and support where needed and providing me with the freedom to develop independently through taking on a level of responsibility within the team.

The moderate size of the trainee intake each year also means that trainees become extremely close, even between different intake years. There are various trainee social events throughout the year including change of seat dinners and drinks, the trainee Christmas party, trainee welcome drinks, and other more ad hoc socials. Even without the organised socials, a lot of trainees often have lunch together or a Friday fry up together in Taylor Wessing's Cloud Nine restaurant and so the working week always stays fun.

Taylor Wessing fosters a truly positive and encouraging environment to work in as a trainee, which has grown my confidence, professional skills and legal knowledge. I have made some great connections and have learned so much in a short space of time. I could not see myself training anywhere else.

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