Hi, I'm second year trainee Juliet Farrington-Breeze and I want to give you an insight into my training contract experience so far.
When did you become a Trainee at Cozens-Hardy?
I became a Trainee at Cozens-Hardy in September 2017 after finishing my Legal Practice Course. I remember feeling both excited and apprehensive to begin my training, hoping that I could use the years of studying to assist me as I began. The truth is, nothing really does prepare you - you just need to jump in with both feet!
What seats have you gained experience in?
Residential Property: My first six months with the firm were spent in the Residential Property department where I was in an office with a partner who was also head of the department. This meant that I was supported by someone who really was an expert in their field and I was able to learn a vast amount in what felt like the shortest six months! From an early stage I was given responsibility and involved during the whole process. It was fast paced and demanding, but a great seat to start my training in and one that I really enjoyed.
Family: My next six months were spent with senior partner, Jane Anderson, in the Family department assisting on her workload, in which she specialises in divorce. My first day in the department started with going to Court and this really was an insight in to what the next six months would hold. I attended client meetings with Jane, partner Iain White and solicitor Sophie Smith. This allowed me to see the diversity between how people work and the differing issues that the Family department deals with. I thoroughly enjoyed working within the Family team. The particular thing that will continue to resonate with me is that you must have the ability to “see the wood from the trees”.
Commercial Property: I am now within the Commercial Property department, sitting with partner Dan Evans assisting on his matters together with those of Training Partner, Caroline Linsdell. Having really enjoyed my time in the Residential Property department, I was excited to see the differences between the two departments; and my experience has certainly exceeded all expectations. I assist on drafting leases, amending them and completing the lease process as well as the many other matters that the commercial team deals with.
I am looking forward to the rest of my time in Commercial; the benefit of having the ability to try different areas of law within Cozens-Hardy is that it shows you which area best fits you.
How much client interaction do you have?
What is refreshing about Cozens-Hardy is that you’re not kept in the background or behind scenes as a trainee. From the very beginning of my training I was having contact with clients over the phone, by email and attending client meetings.
What is your work life balance like?
Of course, you have to work hard and spend your time productively but this is rewarded by really being able to switch off at the end of the day. I feel that there is great support for a good work life balance and there certainly aren’t any nightmare late nights which you hear about during studying. I have been able to keep up with many social events throughout my training and also become a committee member of the Norfolk Young Professional Group. This is a great opportunity to meet other professionals and not only develop professional networks, but also build friendships along the way. With the Cozens-Hardy office located in the very centre of Norwich, there are plenty of events to conveniently get involved with. The firm has an annual quiz, curry nights and even bowling evenings that you can attend.
If you had to name one thing you enjoyed most about the Firm, what would it be?
During my interview back in June 2017, I asked the panel who was interviewing me this very question. Anna Farquharson, partner in the Residential Property department, answered that her favourite part was the people with whom she worked. Unquestionably I would also give the same answer.
Finally, do you have any advice for future trainees?
Your training contract is the start of your career and one that you have spent many years building up to. It is important that you do not get side-lined by dreaming of your life turning out like Harvey Specter’s (Suits fans, you know what I’m talking about) and look at the real ethos of the firm to which you are applying, to make sure it fits you.
If you’re looking to undertake your training contract in a firm which rewards hard work, encourages creativity and provides you with early responsibility whilst giving you the support you need, I would strongly encourage you to send your CV and covering letter to Training Partner, Caroline Linsdell at firstname.lastname@example.org