Trainee Insights - Back to the Future


In our Back to the Future campaign, we're putting expectation up against reality when it comes to Trainee seats. Second-year Trainee Jessica Rush and first-year Trainee Michael Burman swap expectations and ideas surrounding the firm.

Michael - What skills do you think will be most important for your training contract?Focused attention to detail when under pressure and the ability to manage the expectations of multiple fee earners. 

Jessica - What skills have been the most important for your training contract? 

To develop during my training contract, attention to detail and a willingness to learn have been very important. To get through my training contract, a sense of humour is vital.

Michael - What do you think will be most difficult?

Keeping an eye on other matters whilst I am dealing with a particular matter.

Jessica - What has been the most challenging moment so far?

It's a tie, either completing a difficult corporate transaction where information on title to the shares was not forthcoming and the sellers gave conflicting information or the space hopper race at sports day.

Michael - What are you most looking forward to?

Intellectually stimulating work, gaining in-depth knowledge on a variety of sectors, closely supporting clients, meeting great people and becoming part of Howard Kennedy's next generation. 

Jessica - What has been your best moment so far?

Sitting in on an all-parties call between counsel and a client as they untangled complex issues about misrepresentation, trustee's duties, fraud and regulatory breaches.

Michael - Which seat do you think will be your favourite?

Apart from Banking... I would love to do a seat in commercial contracts and IP with Robert Lands, mergers and acquisitions with Gillian White or employment with Jane Amphlett. 

Jessica - Was the seat you thought would be your favourite actually your favourite?

I was looking forward to doing a private client seat and loved it. It was a great mix of black letter law, unusual research and interesting clients.

Michael - What non-fee earning activities are you looking to get involved in at HK?

Business development events and pro bono cases on a wide range of matters. 

Jessica - What non-fee earning activities have you been involved with at Howard Kennedy?

I was on the winning team for LegalWeek's annual competition to present an idea to increase diversity in the law - we had our idea for increasing socioeconomic diversity featured in the magazine. I also helped research and co-author a paper on LGBT rights in the commonwealth which was published in the European Human Rights Law Review.

Michael - Why did you choose HK for your training contract?

Howard Kennedy struck me as a forward-looking and down to earth firm where your personality is respected, as well as specialising in areas of law that I had an interest in. 

Jessica - What have been your impressions of Howard Kennedy after a year at the Firm?

For those that visit the firm, you may notice the curiously long-legged rendering of St Olave, the 1st Century King of Norway, which looms over the Tooley Street entrance.

This is because way back in the day (long, long ago when no one wanted to live south of the river) St Olave and Ethelred the Unready teamed up to reclaim London from the Danish invasion. But Ethelred and Olave didn't fancy their chances at tackling the Danish army head-on, which would have meant sacrificing a lot of their men on Scandinavian spears. So when the Danes crowded onto London Bridge to fire at the English army, the English instead sailed under the bridge on rafts protected by thatch that the army had stolen from surrounding homes (I'm sure the neighbours were thrilled). The English then tied ropes around the bridge piles and sailed away, bringing down London Bridge. Ethelred reclaimed his crown, the Danes took a chilly swim in the Thames and St Olave is immortalised forever above the bins of Tooley Street. With a firm based squarely on the site of an underhand Viking battle, obviously Howard Kennedy has some enterprising spirit as well.

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Howard Kennedy struck me as a forward looking and down to earth firm where your personality is respected.

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