Name: TOM BRIDGE
Degree: ENGLISH LANGUAGE
University: NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I took part in some work experience in the first year of my degree at various law firms, had some vacation schemes as well as a mini-pupillage in Leeds. I really enjoyed my experience and loved the idea of doing something different every day. Next thing I knew I had a training contract offer from Hay & Kilner.
Why Hay & Kilner LLP?
Hay & Kilner has a very strong reputation in the North East, so applying for a Training Contract was an easy decision. I was keen to move back to Newcastle having finished my undergraduate degree and the opportunity to train with a regional firm that covers both personal and commercial law was top of my priority list.
How are you finding your current seat?
One of the best parts of being a trainee in the Family department is the amount of client contact that you get. Our clients will usually be going through a difficult time, so the level of trust that they place in us, even as a Trainee, is especially important to me.
What were your previous seats?
Do you usually get a choice of seat?
We get preferences of what seat we would like to be in next. After my Clinical Negligence seat I wanted to experience a completely different area of law and requested to join the Commercial Property for my second seat.
I joined the team in this April and it was great to be a part of the Commercial Property Team of the Year at the 2018 Northern Law Awards!
What makes Hay & Kilner LLP different?
The people; everyone is so approachable and friendly.
Talk us through a typical day in your current seat at Hay & Kilner LLP.
Luckily, there is no such thing as a typical day, because the work is so varied. Usually I get into the office around 8:30am, have a quick scan of my emails and liaise with my supervisor about whether anything urgent needs attending to.
My day could include anything from attending client meetings, drafting documents, attending and liaising with court or dealing with specific instructions from clients.
What’s the best part of your job?
The variety of work and amount of client contact that I get is my favourite part of the job.
Is there much chance to get involved with Business Development at the firm?
Yes! Trainees have the chance to join our Firm Development Group where we invite contacts from other businesses in order that we can network informally and develop our business relationships. We could be cocktail making, clay pigeon shooting or wine tasting.
How much responsibility and client contact do you have as a Trainee?
This would really depend on the seat that you are in. I would say that in general you tend to have more client contact in the “personal” seats, but inevitably you will get more responsibility as you develop as a Trainee.
I think that as a Trainee you are certainly challenged but you would not be given a task where you were out of your depth. You will get your own files to run (supervised, of course!) and attend client meetings independently.
If you decided not to become a solicitor, what career would you have chosen?
A bed tester.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a potential applicant to Hay & Kilner LLP?
Tip 1: Be yourself and show your personality off; your personality is equally as important as your grades.
Tip 2: It’s really important to get as much exposure to different areas of law at the start of your career as possible – finding the right firm for you is really important.
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