Trainee Solicitor, Luke Page, blogs about his first year of training at Furley Page

Posted by Luke Page

Trainee Solicitor

What attracted you to the legal profession?

I enjoy the opportunity to apply myself to challenging scenarios that appeal to my preference for work that involves a more analytical and investigative approach.

The law demands a certain level of commitment towards always being adaptable to the ever-changing legal climate. I think this helps to prevent my work from ever feeling monotonous.

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

I had the benefit of participating in the Furley Page summer vacation scheme. The staff here were very inviting 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 that did not come with the caveat of the more corporate and impersonal approach of city law firms.

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.

Which area of the law interests you the most and why?

As a first year trainee, this is always a difficult question to answer as at this stage you have limited practical experience. Studying the law and practising the law are two very different things. Areas that I previously did not get on very well with on the LPC have become areas that I would now be very happy to qualify into. My experience in the Commercial Property is a great example of this.

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the following practice areas: Private Client; Real Estate; and Employment Law. I enjoy the more procedural approach involved in these areas. These are also areas where the objectives are often more cohesive between the parties involved as opposed to contentious. That said, I am currently doing a seat in our Dispute Resolution team and find I am really enjoying it! Therefore, my advice to any future trainees of the firm would be to stay as open-minded as possible.

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

Because of the smaller nature of Furley Page’s trainee pool, this has resulted in me having a lot more attention and investment into my training than I otherwise would have received at a city law firm. I have been given a lot of responsibility in terms of my workload whilst being a trainee. Despite this, I have never felt overwhelmed. Whenever I am in need of guidance or struggling with a particular legal problem, I have found that the fee earners at Furley Page are extremely generous with their time and very informative in their supervision.

Describe a typical day as a trainee at Furley Page

At the start of the day I review my to-do list and begin to organise what tasks need to be prioritised. I review my emails and incorporate any outstanding matters into my to-do list.

I then set about carrying out the work at hand. Depending on the team you find yourself in, this can be anything from drafting legal documents, drafting a letter of advice, legal research, completing a transaction, etc. Throughout the day I will also be taking calls from clients or prospective clients with new enquiries.

The afternoon often consists of reviewing my work from that morning with the relevant supervising partner. We discuss any amendments that need to be made before the work can be presented to the client.

At the end of the day I like to review my to-do list and the progress made. I will decide if any clients need to be updated on the likely timescales for me to address their particular matters. I also review the work from that day to ensure that any key dates or deadlines have been recorded in my calendar.

What has been your best experience during your training programme?

During my seat in Commercial Property I was given the task of drafting four leases for an office building. Whilst undertaking this task I noticed that there were issues with the historic transfers of the freehold title for the building which led to a number of title defects. I pointed these out to my supervising partner who concurred with my findings. We discussed these issues the client who was extremely pleased that we had brought this to her attention. We were subsequently instructed to set about resolving the defects. I was heavily involved with this process.

I have found that this is a firm where taking initiative is highly encouraged and appreciated.

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

The complexity of the work requires a keen attention to detail. The work you are doing can often have significant ramifications for clients and the firm, therefore, it is important that you go about your work with a sense of diligence and care.

At times, the work can be quite high-pressured if, for instance, you are up against a deadline. In these circumstances it is important to have a level-headed approach and to be able to focus on the work at hand.

Do you have any insights into training programmes at other law firms? If so, how does the Furley Page programme differ from other solicitor training schemes?

As stated above, I have taken part in the Furley Page summer vacation scheme. I have also taken part in vacation schemes at city law firms and other regional law firms. I found the ethos of these other firms to be very impersonal and during my time there I felt more like an inconvenience rather than a valued member of a team. By contrast, I have always felt my ideas and contributions at Furley Page have been appreciated.

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

You need to have a healthy response to making mistakes. During the course of your two year contract, you are inevitably going to make mistakes. After all, this is not something you will have done before. The point of a training contract is to train you; not reaffirm what you already know.

When things do not go according to plan, the worst thing you can do is wallow in self-doubt. Each mistake should be treated as a learning curve and an opportunity for self improvement. It is much better to make the mistakes now as opposed to when you are qualified!

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