Isabelle Palmer Trainee Blog

When I finished my LLB in July 2021, and subsequently my LPC MSc in June 2022, I felt very daunted by the training contract application process. At university, I had thrown myself into everything I possibly could, whether it was one of my four volunteering projects, part-time work, my studies, or any other society I was involved in, and I decided that the training contract process for me would be the same. I wanted to apply somewhere that would encourage me to get stuck in, and Whitehead Monckton felt exactly like this. It’s proved to have been the right choice.


I began my training contract at the end of September 2022 and joined the Dispute Resolution team. I had experienced working in several different environments, but I had never worked full-time in an office, so there was perhaps a bigger learning curve for me than there might otherwise have been. However, everyone I met was so kind and supportive, and I settled in very quickly. My advice to anyone else starting a training contract who initially feels a bit out-of-depth: don’t worry, things are only new once.


I am now 8 weeks into my training contract and divide my time between our Maidstone and Canterbury offices. I hadn’t previously considered dispute resolution as something I might want to do, but now I would recommend it to anyone. I describe DR as the ‘GP of law’ as it seems to somehow encompass elements of every other department. Every case is different, and every fee earner handles them differently, which means that there is so much to learn every day. I am very grateful to be able to learn from a variety of fee earners across both offices and that they are all so encouraging and generous with their time. With the open-door policy, everyone is almost always accessible and willing to answer questions. Their regular feedback has also been invaluable, and I have found that to be the greatest propellor of my learning.


In such a short space of time, I have already seen my skills improve and my confidence grow. I have been able to handle new enquiries, draft court and other documents and witness client meetings, hearings and a mediation. I also have my first trial in London this week. I am particularly enjoying the element of strategy and seeing how the approach in correspondence changes once litigation becomes unavoidable.


Whitehead Monckton has also been great for extracurriculars. I have attended a networking event hosted by the firm and joined the firm’s CSR team. They regularly host events like the current World Cup sweepstake and upcoming Christmas Party, and it’s great to see that everyone gets stuck in. Overall, it’s been a comfortable, supportive and happy place to work.


I am looking forward to continuing in the Dispute Resolution team and progressing in both confidence and skills. Every trainee says that the time in each seat flies by, so I am keen to make the absolute most of it.