Yes, it might seem obvious, that we do what we say on the tin and "train". However, it has been a pleasant surprise to experience that Howard Kennedy fully commits to our training and development.
It's safe to say that "training" can, more often than not, be interpreted as being thrown in at the deep end and learning as you go; as you take client calls, as you respond to the other side's solicitor and as you do a piece of research for a colleague. These are all definitely the best ways to get a grip on the day to day running in your department.
However, here at Howard Kennedy, we also get involved in a lot of training and development away from our desk.
I assumed there would be the obligatory bit of introductory training in the first week or two, but there has been plenty to keep us busy since then.
Not only is the quantity and quality of training we receive high, but the variety of aspects we cover is equally broad.
From a Real Estate point of view, we attend a range of seminars, with colleagues of different levels of experience within the firm involved. For example we have:
- The Junior Lawyers Programme, which is a weekly lunchtime seminar that all trainees, whether in Real Estate or not, and NQs attend. (The high attendance rate has nothing to do with the free lunch and free comedy show from its presenters, obviously). This is more of an informal session, with a topic selected each week for discussion. These topics can be any area in Real Estate, and we often have long discussions about very narrow, specific topics, either to ensure that everyone fully understands it, or because it's a controversial area . You can ask any question at these seminars that you might be embarrassed to ask one of your department colleagues and often, it's a great excuse to get an answer for a piece of work on your desk.
- Knowledge Management seminars. These are monthly sessions run by our Commercial Investment Partner, Katherine Miller, aimed at trainees and junior lawyers in Real Estate. They usually involve two or more fee earners giving short presentations on Real Estate matters, usually issues they have come across in recent work and provide for good discussion afterwards.
- Bi-monthly sessions with the Real Estate trainees and Partners. We sit around the table and each feedback to the group on a recent case that we have researched. Most significantly, we discuss what it means for us and our clients in practice. It's a great time to sit down with Partners, away from their desk and exchange views on how the case may affect their work.
- Department wide Knowledge Update sessions. At these we are lucky to have external speakers come in and present to us on their field of expertise. It's interesting to hear from someone with a breadth of knowledge about one area. Often these speakers are barristers, and it's really helpful to hear how they experience this in their practice, and how we can maximise our client's interests in light of this.
In addition to the Real Estate seminars on offer, there are general 'Knowledge' seminars, where our Knowledge Hub Master, Robin Hall, lets us know what new and exciting sources of information we have and how we can use them to get the most from them.
And this is not just in Real Estate; my fellow trainees in Corporate are kept busy with interactive seminars where they discuss drafting documents, as well as seminars where they present to their whole department.
Outside of department and client-work focused seminars, we have regular sessions with HR to develop and broaden our soft skills.
We also have seminars where we learn about how we can most effectively contribute to the success of our clients and the firm as a whole, from the work that we do, to the networking that we get involved in.
All of the above ensure that we are keeping up with the law in our department, are challenging ourselves to provide the best service for our clients and are developing our owns skills for the future.