James Simpson, final year trainee solicitor, describes his experience at Furley Page

James Simpson


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May 27, 2021

Categories Graduate recruitment

What attracted you to the legal profession?

The ability to support people through difficult circumstances or potentially problematic times in their lives, build lasting relationships and fundamentally to make a positive difference through my daily work.

I was also attracted by the opportunity to work with all sorts of different people and the enormous scale of potential areas of legal practice.

While digging deeper when first considering a career in the legal profession, I realised there was so much more to the law then what we see in films or read about. I always found the scope of possibility exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time!

Why did you choose Furley Page to undertake your training contract?

Having grown up and lived in East Kent when my interest in a legal career really took off while taking my A-Levels, I was aware of Furley Page’s reputation in the region. It took some time away studying in the Midlands and North-West, and attending many law fairs and outreach sessions, for me to realise that by no means all law firms have the same local roots and reputation in their respective areas.

I found that Furley Page struck the right balance between expert regional knowledge to help local people and businesses on the one hand, and the wider expertise to work nationally (and internationally) with clients based elsewhere on the other.

Personally, I really wanted to work with the community I grew up in, with Furley Page providing the right opportunity and support for me to do so.

Your second year of training has been very different to your first year. What did Furley Page put in place to ensure you continued to receive a high standard of training and support?

The firm has invested significantly to enhance home-working arrangements and has provided everyone with a lot of training and support, which means that I have been able to continue to focus on training and learning without worrying too much about the practicalities of physical changes to our ways of working.

Everyone adapted to remote meetings and calls being the new norm very quickly meaning that I felt that the quality of supervision didn’t deteriorate, which is something that I think every Trainee would otherwise worry about.

The firm has been partaking in virtual networking events which I find has really helped to keep the firm’s Trainees better engaged with businesses and other contacts in the area.

What seats have you been in and has there been any which challenged your perception of that area of law?

I have completed training seats in the Dispute Resolution and Residential Property teams and I am now in my final seat with the Vulnerable Client team.

In particular, my time in Dispute Resolution really opened my eyes to the sheer scale and variety of disputes for which clients call on solicitors for their expertise. I grew to understand the prevalence of alternative ways of resolving disputes and people’s willingness to engage in those practises at all sorts of stages of a matter.

As so much focus of a lawyer’s pre-training studies is on litigation and the judicial system generally, it was sometimes surprising to see the variety of other resolution tactics which we can advise clients to use and to see the lengths that people would go to in order to avoid the last resort!

Reflecting back on your training so far, to what extent has the reality of training in a legal firm lived up to your expectations?

The level of support from colleagues, and feedback and engagement from clients, has been everything I hoped it would be. Training at Furley Page really is hands-on so I have been able to look back on the various matters I have contributed to and see how the matter has developed from beginning to end or at any point in between.

Of course, no-one could have fully predicted the challenges that the last year and beyond have brought so there have been some unexpected surprises.

Remote working has encouraged me to delve deeper into certain topics using a range of legal resources to find more out for myself and I feel that on occasions that has actually enabled me to have more in-depth discussions and to discuss more complex legal points with supervising fee earners.

In particular, the social side of a legal career has naturally taken a hit but the support network is still there even though the face-to-face interaction might not have been.

I have definitely met more colleagues’ pets virtually than I thought I would at the start of my training period back in Autumn 2019!



The deadline for our 2023 trainee solicitors programme is Fri 2 July 2021.

Find out more about training to be a solicitor with Furley Page >