Heather Dunlop, Trainee Solicitor, blogs about her second year of training with Furley Page

Posted by Heather Dunlop

Trainee Solicitor

What attracted you to the legal profession?

I was drawn to the combination of client contact and intellectual challenge.  I was also interested in how the law underpins all kinds of social interactions and industries, and therefore offers a lot of variety.

How has your second year of training differed from the first year?

I have now had the opportunity to experience several different practice areas, which has provided a more rounded knowledge of the law.  Practice areas can often overlap, so a broader perspective can be very useful.

What responsibilities have you had during your second year of training?

I have been holding meetings with clients or other parties more frequently on my own without supervision.  It is an important step from observing a meeting to conducting one instead.

How does the level of support you’ve received in your second year differ from the support you received during your first year? Was the support you received sufficient?

The support remains high, but the focus is now on ensuring the trainees are practice-ready by the time of qualification.

Which seats have you experienced during your time as a trainee at Furley Page?

Dispute Resolution, Residential Property and a double seat in Private Client.

Has this experience given you an interest in a particular specialism? If so which area of the law and why?

All of the seats have provided interesting experiences, from attending Court in Dispute Resolution to helping a client purchase a new home in Residential Property.  I particularly enjoy the client relationships and the type of work involved in Private Client, as its personal nature entails working closely with clients to achieve a result that is tailored specifically for their wishes and circumstances.

What has been your best experience during your training programme?

It is difficult to choose one particular experience, but I enjoyed sitting in on the Camelot Panel meetings and listening to the advice given to lottery winners.

What skills do you think are essential to be a successful lawyer?

Attention to detail, organisation and an ability to focus on the task at hand.

To what extent has the reality of training in a law firm lived up to your expectations?

It is a busy atmosphere, with there always being lots of tasks to work on or assist with. The level of expertise at the firm is also very impressive – you can learn a tremendous amount in even a brief conversation with an experienced solicitor.

What advice would you give anybody looking to train as a solicitor?

I would strongly suggest trying to get a variety of legal experiences (part-time jobs, vacation schemes, experience days, etc.) in different fields if possible.  When it comes time to apply for a training contract, it will help focus your applications on the types of firm and practice areas that interest you the most.


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