I am now over half way through my training contract with Whitehead Monckton and it is both exciting and scary to think that in under a year I will be a qualified solicitor.
Since my last trainee blog I have completed my second seat of training in the Corporate and Employment (CoEmp) department and started my third seat in the Property department. The CoEmp seat provided me with a wealth of experience regarding corporate transactions and the drafting skills and organisation associated with it, as well as the non-transactional drafting, such as terms and conditions and shareholders agreements. My experience in corporate matters prior to this was definitely lacking, however the team still gave me a lot of responsibility and support from the offset. This included some minor transactions before I was lucky enough to be involved in the sale of a business worth over £20,000,000. Despite the size and significance of this matter, the team were still keen to keep me involved to help me gain valuable transactional experience and get a lot of client interaction.
My CoEmp seat exposed me to an area of law that was very new to me. My initial seat was largely contentious in nature, so the corporate work taught me not only a new aspect of legal knowledge, but also a new way of working. That is ultimately the beauty of a training contract, in that you are exposed to various ways of conducting work as well as learning the relevant legal knowledge for each area you undertake. By doing this you clearly identify which aspects you enjoy and which you do not, so you (hopefully) grasp a clear understanding of what area you want to qualify into. With that in mind, I was hoping the property seat would introduce me to new factors I am yet to experience after my initial year of training, and even after only a few weeks, I can safely say it is!
While the majority of my first year at the firm has been in our Maidstone office, I am now spending a few months working from our Canterbury office. This is allowing me to work with new people and spend time with colleagues I have otherwise not seen as often in my time at the firm.
I haven’t been in the Property department for too long, but the majority of my work so far has concerned commercial matters. This has included drafting leases, licences, transfers, contracts of sale and reports on title. The experience I have received so far has been extremely beneficial as it differs from my previous work and also enhances my knowledge in an area of law that will prove to be significant no matter what area I choose to practice.
Aside from work at the office, being in the Property department has opened up new networking opportunities. This included a property “question time” event, which was hosted by a local accountancy firm and allowed a large group of local professionals the chance to ask a panel of experts (including our very own David Riordan) questions regarding matters such as recent reform, Brexit or even more personal matters. This was a good opportunity to learn what is happening within the current property market, as well as hearing what the local professional’s concerns are. As well as other networking events with the Kent Law Society, I also got to play in our charity golf day again this year. If you read my previous trainee blog you will note that I hoped to play as well this year as I did in the last…. But sadly that wasn’t the case. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable day out meeting a variety of professionals from local businesses, as well as catching up with some that I met last year.
At Whitehead Monckton our final seat in the training contract is usually used to return to an area that we have previously undertaken, in a view that it will be the area we qualify into. While the time to make that decision is fast approaching, it won’t be until my next trainee blog that we will see what I ended up choosing. For now, I just want to continue learning, gaining valuable experience and hopefully enjoy the second half of my training contract as much as I have enjoyed the first.