In our Back to the Future campaign, we're putting expectation up against reality when it comes to Trainee seats. In this edition, Alex Wood (first-year Trainee) and Owen Griffiths (second-year Trainee) compare notes.
Alex - What skills do you think will be important for your training contract?Of course the usual skills required of a solicitor: attention to detail; good work ethic; etc. Then there are the skills really encouraged by the firm atmosphere: being sociable; getting involved in as much as possible; and constantly learning. All of these are highly valued here and will be a key part of any success to be had.
Owen - What skills have been most important for your training contract?I've found being organised the key skill for the training contract. This could be as simple as keeping a list of tasks in a spreadsheet to emailing notes to yourself, which you can then flag on outlook to complete on a particular date depending on when the fee earner needs the task done.
Alex - What do you think will be most difficult?Potentially maintaining the "extracurricular" activities around the firm during extremely busy periods. I will always want to be involved in as much as possible and sometimes this can make life very hectic.
Owen - What has been the most difficult moment so far?I think the first few weeks as a trainee can be the most difficult: you're learning a new role, the systems of the firm, the legal research tools and you're also receiving lots of information from different departments to assimilate quickly.
Alex - What are you most looking forward to?Generally, it's a really exciting time to be at HK and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the firm.
Owen - What has been your best moment so far?It was a great moment to be part of the business crime team during the successful acquittal of Andreas Hauschild for Euribor manipulation, helping someone innocent to clear their name and reputation.
Alex - Which seat do you think will be your favourite?I'm looking forward to them all equally!
Owen - Was the seat you thought would be your favourite actually your favourite?I enjoyed both of my 1st-year seats. I was lucky to be in two areas I was interested in - commercial real estate and business crime. I was always open-minded about what I would qualify into so didn't have a favourite planned out!
Alex - What non-fee earning activities are you looking to get involved in at HK?I love being in all the sports teams (be that playing a sport or joining the sports group) and would look to organise a few events against other firms. The social and charity committee do some great things so I am already part of them. Beyond that, I've heard the band get to go to some amazing places so efforts have been doubled re my triangle practice.
Owen - What non fee-earning activities have you been involved with at Howard Kennedy?Howard Kennedy is a great place to experience non fee-earning activities as a trainee. I have tried to get involved in as many opportunities as possible. I am a member of the firm's Charity Committee and the Trainee Editorial Board. I also like to attend as many social events as possible - the Sports Day recently was hilarious, I never thought I'd get on a spacehopper again!
Alex - Why did you choose HK for your training contract?I worked here as a paralegal and it was the atmosphere that really attracted me. As above, the firm places a wonderful emphasis on some atypical skills but actually I think that creates a phenomenal environment around the office. I also think that the firm is only going one way and I want to be a part of the success.
Owen - What have been your impressions of Howard Kennedy after a year at the Firm?The firm is genuinely friendly and inclusive. The values of the firm are reflected in the people it recruits which makes coming to work a positive experience with like-minded people. It's also got some quite quirky characters, which makes for an interesting traineeship!