What we look for?
Here at GN Law we have a flexible approach to what we look for in a trainee solicitor.
As a general rule, we require a minimum of a 2:1 degree and a demonstrable interest in the work that we do. The ideal candidate will be able to show that they have a passion for one or more of the areas of law in which we specialise.
An ability to work in a team based environment and to command the confidence of our clients are also essential qualities that we look for. Functioning productively as a trainee solicitor is as much about attitude as it is aptitude. Hard-working people with commitment and common sense will excel.
While a 2:1 is normally our minimum requirement, we will carefully consider applicants with extenuating circumstances, especially if they have a clear commitment towards the work that we do. Other relevant work experience or direct involvement in an area of law will be important.
What is it really like?
Life as a trainee solicitor with GN Law is busy! All of our trainees are treated as 'fee earners' which means that they do real work on files for real clients. While it varies from one department to another, our trainees are likely to have files in their own names for which they are responsible and for whom they are the client's first point of contact. We have an extensive induction procedure to ease trainees (and paralegals) into life with us and regular ongoing training to continue to develop skills essential to daily life as an aspiring lawyer.
We provide video training alongside more traditional training to help our trainees develop how they present themselves both socially and directly with clients. Take a look at some of the videos on this site from our trainees.
Supervision is constant. The open plan layout of our offices means that supervision is provided as and when needed. Weekly departmental meetings provide a forum for discussion and supervision away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day working life and to reflect on specific issues including work loads and any recurring problems.
All staff, including trainees, have quarterly meetings with their supervisor to look at their performance and to discuss ways to consolidate progress and improve further. Their progress under their training contract is more formally reviewed every six months, which normally coincides with a change of seat (see below).
While busy, life as a trainee at GN Law involves quality work with high levels of responsibility and training helping our trainees realise their full potential as lawyers.
We offer seats in all our departments. There are no compulsory seats but it is usual for all our trainees to spend time in our mental health department at some stage. Mental health is our largest department in terms of staff and volume of work.
At the start of your training contract with us, our training principle, Andrew Guile will discuss with you which departments you wish to have seats in and will look to map-out when those seats will take place. Since the formation of Guile Nicholas in 2006 we have always had three or more trainee solicitors and have always been able to accommodate their choices of department.
The requirement of the Law Society is that you must do a minimum of three seats. While four seats may be possible, we find that most of our trainees do three. It is common for our trainees to have an expressed interest in one or more of our departments. For this reason, it is commonplace for our trainees to do a twelve month seat in their department of preference. This provides a better opportunity for the trainee in question to learn their preferred area of law more deeply and increase their chances of being kept on with the firm post-qualification.
Time to count
It is possible to reduce the duration of your training contract with us if you are eligible to take 'time to count'. We do not automatically recognise paralegal work done elsewhere but, when paralegal work is undertaken with us, we have always agreed to our trainees taking time to count to reduce the length of their training contract if that is their wish.
One month can be taken off the length of the training contract for every two months work done as a paralegal where training and supervision (akin to a training contract) can be proven, to a maximum of 6 months.
Taking time to count has to be considered carefully. A training contract is a person's opportunity to experience different areas of law. Once qualified, you will, more often than not, specialise immediately in one area. Shortening your training contract will reduce the time you have to experience as many different areas as possible and/or the extent of the experience you gain. For this reason, taking time to count needs to be carefully thought through and is only recommended for those people who have already taken a clear decision as to what area of law they wish to specialise in.
When can I start my training contract?
Of course, if you have already completed your LPC successfully then you are eligible to start your training contract.
However, it is possible to undertake the LPC part-time, over two years, and be employed as a trainee solicitor concurrently. More than half of our current trainees are approaching their training contract in this way. It makes sense. It allows our trainees to earn a wage that helps pay their LPC fees monthly rather than increasing their student debt. Some of our current trainees go to college/University in the weekday evening while others have weekend tuition. For those needing to leave the office early during the week to attend lectures, this is accommodated.
Also, we understand that our trainees, especially those doing the LPC concurrently, need study leave either for LPC or PSC exams. We allow five days paid study leave per year. Additional study leave can be taken as holiday or unpaid if necessary and approved by the directors. We find that our trainees almost always stay within the five days leave allowed.
How To Apply: GN Law is a multi-talented team of Solicitors, barristers, paralegals, accounts and finance specialists and support staff. We're always interested in hearing from people at all levels who think they have something unique to add, so please send your CV and covering letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org by email or by post to Practice Manager, GN Law, 43 Lodge Lane, North Finchley, N12 8JG or browse our current vacancies by clicking Here
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