Tom Elstone Trainee Blog

Reading my now colleagues’ training blogs prior to starting I noticed the trend of mentioning how quickly the first weeks and months of a training contract pass by. How spot on they were! My time so far at Whitehead Monckton has flown by in a heartbeat and I truly have enjoyed every minute of it.


My route into law was through the GDL which I studied following a History undergrad with the University of Exeter. The GDL I studied with Cardiff University but as a result of the pandemic I lived at home only going into the city for seminars just three times. Next up was the LPC which I did at BPP University living in London and studying at their Holborn campus.


It was during my LPC year that I received my offer of a training contract with Whitehead Monckton to start in September 2022. I was thrilled, I can recall the exact position I was seated opposite the BPP Holborn campus when I was called with the news.


I had no doubt following my application process that Whitehead Monckton would be a fantastic place to work – all those who I had met were welcoming and made me feel very relaxed. Actually starting with the firm has been no different.


At no point, despite asking so many, have my questions to colleagues been met without full engagement and help. Questions as a trainee are inevitable and being in an environment where you feel comfortable to approach anyone is something which I appreciate considerably.


My first seat has seen me work in the Commercial Property department under the supervision of Alexander Bak. While property was by no means my favourite module when studying I have found it to be a completely different prospect when in practice. I have thoroughly enjoyed the work I have engaged in due to a combination of a fun team and wide variety of work I am invited to bite my teeth into. Common daily tasks include; drafting of documents, communicating with parties involved in a transaction or researching certain aspects of a transaction (past or present) that a client has requested.


While the majority of work I do concerns commercial property transactions I have also been able to work on a number of residential matters. This week I hope to oversee exchanges and completions of leasehold purchases that I have worked on from the opening of the matter.


Working in the Maidstone office Monday to Friday has allowed me to create close relationships with colleagues quickly. This has also meant that I can involve myself in work from a number of people, and not just Alex my supervisor.


The one thing that remains constant throughout working for different individuals in the department is the support I receive. While the actual doing of work is important, there is just as much value in sitting down with the person who has given you the work and running through it. This comes in two stages; the initial briefing before beginning a task and then running through and reviewing your work with the relevant person. I, personally, have found running through work with colleagues a particularly useful engagement – mistakes and errors as a trainee are inevitable and being able to run through work, have errors explained to me and learn from mistakes in a way that is comfortable is invaluable to me.


In addition to working in the office, I have been able to involve myself in some of the social events that Whitehead Monckton are involved in too. My first experience of this was attending the East Kent Ploughing Match where we had a stall and engaged with current clients and potential new clients. Alternatively, after expressing interest in attending a Kent Law Society Golf Day I was encouraged to attend. I particularly, enjoyed this day as I chatted to colleagues outside of the office but also engaged with people who worked for a whole host of different firms in Kent (and I got to play a wonderful golf course).


Finally, knowing of many horror stories with training contracts I am incredibly grateful for the work-life balance that Whitehead Monckton offers. I moved to Kent just a week before starting my training contract and while I knew a few friends from university who live in the area it was high on my agenda to make new mates. I am fortunate that playing both hockey and cricket gives me the opportunity to do this. Just two days after moving into my new flat I trained with Maidstone Hockey Club and I have played every Saturday since then. Having the time to do this, as well as keep up other hobbies has made settling into Whitehead Monckton a very enjoyable experience.


I look forward to what the rest of my time with the Property department holds, as well as the seats that shall follow this.