Case study

Peter Warcup — Trainee solicitor

Womble Bond Dickinson LLP

Peter studied for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Northumbria University. He is now a trainee solicitor with Womble Bond Dickinson

What did you study and where?

I graduated with a BA in Politics with History, followed by an MA in Advanced International Business and Management from Newcastle University. I then completed an MSc in International Business and Management at the University of Groningen. After working for a number of years I converted to law.

How did you get your job?

I worked as a conference organiser for a political party after I completed my Masters, having worked for the organisation in a number of part-time and temporary roles while studying. From there I moved to work as a buyer for a department store.

For a long time I had harboured an interest in becoming a solicitor and, in a period of turbulence in the retail market, it felt like the right time to make the move into law. I secured a place on a vacation scheme with Womble Bond Dickinson and was lucky enough to be offered a training contract with the firm.

Womble Bond Dickinson then sponsored me through a law conversion at Northumbria University and, following the completion of my studies, I began my two year training contract.

What’s a typical day like?

I am involved in a range of different matters and transactions. I rotate department or seat every six months during the training contract, which ensures I am exposed to different areas of law and different types of work.
However, typical tasks include preparing reports for clients, contractual drafting and dealing with the formalities associated with transactions.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I have been involved in some very high-profile, high-value matters, which were not only intellectually stimulating, but also allowed me to significantly develop my legal skillset.

What are the challenges?

The rotation between seats is designed to provide experience across a breadth of legal disciplines; however, this has the consequence that, just as you are becoming accustomed to that area of law, you then change seat and have to quickly adapt to the requirements of the new department.

How do I get into Law?

  • Research life in the legal profession and, ideally, get some work experience in a law firm, as you will need to demonstrate that you have properly considered law as a career.
  • Consider what field you want to qualify into. Be passionate about the area you will spend your career in, be this corporate, family or criminal. Each specialism has different benefits and disadvantages, which you should make yourself aware of.
  • Apply in good time. The period between the initial application and starting a training contract is typically around 32 months, so be aware of firms' deadlines (which are often in January or February), otherwise you may find yourself having to wait another year before beginning your training contract.

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