Family Law Solicitor Naomi Hayward explains why she accepted a training contract with Furley Page

Posted by Naomi Hayward

Senior Associate & Collaborative Lawyer

Q.Where and what did you study at university before you were accepted for a Training Contract with Furley Page?

I studied law at Southampton University and I then went to Guildford to study the LPC.

Q. What work had you done before you started your training, including work placements and voluntary work? Did your work experience prove useful?

Prior to my training contract I had Saturday and holiday jobs at various places including a vineyard and shops.  The work I did was very customer focussed which I think was useful as fundamentally life as a solicitor involves good customer service and dealing with people on a daily basis.

In terms of work experience I did various things over the years.  I had direct legal work experience in various firms in Southampton and Kent including some vacation schemes and other ad hoc work experience that I had managed to arrange.  I also took advantage of opportunities available at university such as shadowing a Judge at the Crown Court in Southampton.  I enjoyed every element of work experience and each thing I did provided a different insight to a career in the law and it increased my interest and desire to train as a solicitor.

As a student I also volunteered as a mentor for a young offender whilst in prison and once he was back in the community.  Whilst living in Guildford I also volunteered for a national domestic violence charity helping survivors of domestic abuse obtain emergency injunctions.  This was particularly useful and insightful for me as I had started developing my interest in family law and the work with the charity involved a practical application of family law.

Q. When and why did you decide to become a trainee solicitor with Furley Page? What were you hoping to get out of your training and what appealed to you about the firm?

When applying for training contracts I wanted to join a firm that offered a broad spectrum of specialisms so I could have a varied training contract.  I was also keen to join a firm that put an emphasis on trainees getting stuck into cases and having direct client contact throughout.  This ethos and approach was made clear during the interview process and true to their word in my second month as a trainee I had my very own client! I was instructed by a local business to draft Terms and Conditions of Sale and it felt fantastic to be able to do such work at such an early stage in my career.

Q. Did your training live up to your expectations? Did it prepare you well for your current position?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a trainee at Furley Page.  I can honestly say that in every seat I experienced I felt welcomed as a member of the team and I felt lucky to train somewhere where I was trusted with live cases to manage as well as working with various partners and solicitors in the teams directly on their own cases.  Qualification felt like a seamless transition as although you continue to learn at an incredible rate after your training contract, I felt my training had equipped me with the immediate skills I needed to start developing my caseload as a qualified solicitor.

Q. What position do you hold with Furley Page? Is it where you’d planned to be or have you exceeded your expectations?

I am a solicitor in the Family Team and I qualified into this team after finishing my training contract.  After spending one seat with the Family Team I knew that this was the area of law that I wished to qualify into and so I spent a second seat with the team.  I was very pleased to be offered a permanent position when I qualified and I feel that I have become an integral member of the team and I am pleased with what I have achieved.

Q. If you were to meet your younger self, what advice would you give about applying to becoming a trainee solicitor?

My key piece of advice would be to get as much work experience as you can both legal and non-legal.  When doing legal work experience the more you can do the better to not only show your commitment to a career as a solicitor but to also satisfy yourself that this career path is right for you.  I would suggest keeping a diary of all the things you did and experienced during work experience and use this as a reminder before any training contract interviews as you will most certainly be asked about your experiences.

In terms of non-legal experience, anything you can do to make your C.V. stand out from the masses will also help.

Visit our Careers pages for information about our Undergraduate Work Placement scheme and applying to become a Trainee Solicitor with Furley Page.

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