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Meet our trainees - Q&A with Lydia Sevenoaks & Charles Danjoux

15 Oct 2021

Last month we welcomed two new graduates who were chosen to train with Hay & Kilner earlier in the year. Lydia Sevenoaks and Charles Danjoux have joined our Newcastle office taking seats in our Corporate and Family teams respectively.

They are now over a month into their roles so we thought it would be a good time to check in and find out a little bit more about them including why they chose Hay & Kiner, and how they are finding it so far…

Why did you choose to study law?

Lydia – I was actually so close to not applying for university at all as I didn’t really know what I wanted to do! I just knew I didn’t want study a subject such as English or Maths as I figured that I wouldn’t know what I wanted to afterwards. However, after some more research, law seemed the natural path to take in some ways, as I enjoyed English and History as well as writing and debating. I’m also a massive perfectionist! Thankfully it all worked out for the best.

Charles – I studied politics at A level and found the legal aspects of the subject interesting. I decided that I wanted to expand on my legal knowledge further so chose to study it at Durham university. I completed a number of law modules, encompassing many different areas, which made me realise how broad and far-reaching the law is. The diversity of the work made it very interesting and secured law as the career that I wanted to pursue.

Which seats are you looking forward to the most?

Lydia – I would like to experience family law and commercial litigation and I know that Hay & Kilner try to be as flexible as possible. The variety of work in litigation appeals to me and I already have some experience in family law which has always stood as an area of interest. It’s quite an exciting prospect that my seats could be a surprise as I don’t have a firm idea of what I want to qualify into, so I’m looking forward to trying a mix of commercial and non-contentious seats to see what suits me best.

Charles – I have just started in the family team which I am very excited about. I am interested to see how our work effects people on a personal and more individual level. I am also looking forward to working in a corporate/commercial seat in order to help expand upon my commercial awareness and to learn more about the importance of law in business.

Why did you choose Hay & Kilner?

Lydia – I chose Hay & Kilner as they have an excellent reputation and strong presence within the North East and, being a home girl, this is where I’ve always planned on building my career. Coupled with that, the firm has a family-feel within the culture which is what drew me in. Everyone is so welcoming and there isn’t the cold, corporate feel that other large firms can often have which confirmed it was the right fit for me.

Lydia Sevenoaks and Charles Danjoux

Charles – Growing up in North Yorkshire and going to Durham University, I have always had an affinity for the North East so I am fond of the area and was very keen to start my career here. Hay and Kilner stood out to me as a longstanding family firm that continues to grow after 75 years in business. After applying, I was invited to participate in the Summer vacation scheme which I really enjoyed. The work was interesting and everyone was friendly and helpful. I was very pleased when I was offered a training contract.

How are you finding it so far?

Lydia – So far so good! It was a bit daunting starting in Corporate, as it’s work I haven’t done before, but everyone in the team is really approachable. I’ve enjoyed seeing the sorts of matters we deal with and how these interlink with the other departments such as Employment and Commercial Property. Aside from work, there have already been a few opportunities to get to know everyone socially which has been great and helped me settle in more quickly.

Charles – The best bit so far has been getting to know everyone in the department and the wider firm, as well as being able to get started with the work on real cases. The most challenging part initially has been getting my head around how internal systems work, the usual new starter stuff.

What advice would you give to a potential applicant?

Lydia – As everybody always says, be yourself. The firm wants to see how you fit in and equally, you need to see if it’s a good fit, so there is no use pretending to be something you’re not. Think about why you want to work at Hay & Kilner specifically. Obviously academics are important, but try to get across who you are as a person, your interests and hobbies outside of work, and make an effort to speak to people whilst you’re here (especially on the vacation scheme) as it goes a long way and makes you more likely to be remembered!

Charles – My advice to any potential applicants would be that if you make it onto the vacation scheme, don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. You’re here to learn and you will get far more out of the experience if you draw upon the knowledge of everyone working here.

Our application process for Trainee positions and the Summer Vacation Scheme will open in the New Year. Keep an eye on our Graduate Opportunities page for further updates and information.