Trainee solicitor, Abigail Barlett, reflects on her period of training with Furley Page

Abigail Bartlett

Trainee Solicitor

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May 4, 2022

Categories Graduate recruitment

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

I went to Canterbury Christ Church University and so I knew Furley Page was a leading law firm in the local area. I remember attending a Kent Law Society student event whist at university and I met lots of lawyers from Furley Page, from Trainees to Partners – they were extremely personable and quick to offer guidance.

I had the benefit of participating in the Furley Page summer vacation scheme in June 2018. The staff here were very friendly from the outset and the personable ethos of the firm was immediately apparent. By working alongside fee earners in different teams, I was able to witness the high level of expertise this firm has to offer. I would highly recommend the vacation scheme to any prospective trainees as an opportunity to get to know the firm on a more personal level. After just a week here it was clear that everyone felt valued and enjoyed working at Furley Page.

How has training and working within the covid related restrictions impacted on your training?

I started my Training Contract in October 2020 – the entirety of my first seat was spent working from home and most of it was in full lockdown. It was a testament to the firm that I had such a smooth experience.

I joined the Private Client Team who were quick to embrace remote working and ensured everyone in the team was supported in both their day to day work and generally with the immense shift from normal working life. The team gathered on Microsoft Teams for a weekly meeting which was extremely important for team morale – we also enjoyed various virtual themed quizzes.

By the time I started my second seat in the Employment team in April 2021 restrictions had largely eased and we were able to work from the office on a staggered basis. It was fantastic to be in the office and be able to work closely with colleagues. Hybrid working definitely had a positive impact on my experience.

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

My first seat was Private Client, second Employment and third Corporate. I have since returned to the Private Client Team for my final seat.

My time in Private Client has completely changed my initial perception of that area of law. At university you learn about the intricacies of Equity and Trusts but don’t cover the practical side of Private Client law. However, it is the personal element which makes the seat so enjoyable. Each client is different – spending time meeting clients and discussing their family background and wishes allows you to fully understand their motivations and be able to provide clear options to suit their circumstances.

If you could take one key learning from each of your seats you have completed so far, what would it be?

Private Client

Client care is a key skill required for a successful seat in Private Client. Usually clients have been through an emotional time after losing a loved one or sometimes clients can be anxious when weighing up their priorities later in life. My time shadowing various fee earners in the team has allowed me to experience different approaches to client care and given me the opportunity to develop this skill in my day to day work.

Employment

Something that surprised me during my employment seat was how big a part psychology plays in facilitating a successful outcome for clients. I learnt how to craft questions in order to tackle heavy subject matter and get to the heart of the issues. This enables employment practitioners to ensure they have a clear understanding of the facts and enables them to create a specific plan of action to ensure a positive outcome for clients.

Corporate

The work in the team is varied and highly complex – a key skill is managing an assessing risk. When you are working on a transaction it is important to consider risk at every stage. When negotiating you learn to assess risk, consider the potential impact and also understand the commercial implications.

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

I am pleased to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my Training Contract. My seats have been varied which has meant I have had exposure to various clients and legal issues.

Furley Page’s training programme is sophisticated and the whole firm are dedicated to making it a success for the trainees.

Furley Page’s trainee intake is smaller than other firms. When I started I wasn’t sure what impact this would have – whether it would be positive or negative. I have found this to have an extremely positive impact on my training as it has resulted in me being given a lot more attention and investment into my training than I otherwise would have received. At Furley Page I have been given a lot of responsibility in terms of managing my workload – you quickly learn how best to communicate time scales with supervisors and prioritise tasks. The fee earners I have worked for during my Training Contract have been generous with their time and always offered support and guidance.

Find out more about becoming a Trainee Solicitor with Furley Page >>