Trainee Solicitor, Catherine Peckham, talks about her first year of training at Furley Page

Catherine Peckham

Trainee Solicitor

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May 4, 2023

Categories Graduate recruitment

What made you decide Furley Page was the best place to pursue your training?

I had worked at Furley Page as a legal assistant in the Family team for two years before applying for my training contract and was certain that I wanted to pursue my training here, attracted by my experiences already and the opportunity to continue my career in a firm that has such an excellent reputation. I could see that trainees were well respected and given lots of responsibility and client interaction right from the start. From experience, I knew that Furley Page is a very supportive place to work and that I would be given the guidance when needed to develop, learn and to push myself.

Lastly, I had enjoyed the relationships I had built with both colleagues and clients during my time as a legal assistant and was keen to ensure that I did not lose these!

What has been your overriding impression so far of the training programme at Furley Page?

The training programme at Furley Page has such a good reputation for a reason. I have had a real mix of client interaction and responsibility. The work I am given is varied, rarely administrative and I can see how my contributions aid the development of the matter. I have experienced excellent supervision and have found that fee earners and partners are willing to give their time and share their expertise.

My experience has not been the most typical as I have taken time out for maternity leave in between my first and second seats. I received the support I needed and have been able to seamlessly return back, starting my split second seat in Dispute Resolution and Employment. I can honestly say that my experience so far has exceeded my expectations.

What has been your best experience during your training programme?

My first seat was in Residential Real Estate and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed my time in the team and how rewarding and satisfying the work felt. I enjoyed being able to develop good relationships with clients as I worked on their matters from the beginning, opening their files, all the way through to completion. Often this was the first experience clients had ever had with a law firm and legal processes and so it was a good opportunity to really develop my communication skills and explain often complex processes and terminology in a more client friendly and accessible way.

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

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a key skill. You are constantly dealing with a variety of people, both other professionals and clients, and it is important that you are able to adapt your communication style to meet their needs.

Strong organisational skills are also a must. You may be juggling a number of cases, with various time pressures and deadlines, and it is important that you ensure you are always able to provide a high level of service and support.

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

I would strongly advise gaining work experience. Not only will it provide the opportunity to develop necessary skills, but it helps build confidence and also gives an insight into the realities of the profession. I would also recommend that you stay focussed and persevere. I began my law degree as a mature student and then spent time working a legal assistant whilst undertaking my further studies. Sometimes the long route to qualifying can seem daunting, but it is worth reminding yourself why you are doing it and make the most of the opportunities to develop skills and experience.


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