“The journey to qualification as a trainee is challenging, the one thing that remains constant is the support available to you throughout.”

What is unique about FW?

Hollie Allen, third seat trainee

Hollie AllenFox Williams only take on a small number of trainees – there are currently only seven across the two years! This means that, unlike many of the bigger firms, there is plenty of high quality work to get involved in and generous client exposure. The variety of work also means that in departments such as corporate, you will rarely do the same day twice.

The layout of the firm means you share an office with a partner, often working directly with them. This not only facilitates first-hand learning from highly experienced and accomplished lawyers, but the exposure to partners allows you to build your reputation and profile around the firm.

There is an effort to eliminate hierarchy and trainees are treated with a very high level of responsibility. This level of responsibility occasionally means late nights, but these are few and far between at FW: getting home at a reasonable time is encouraged if the work is done!

The small intake also serves to create a collegiate atmosphere between trainees, with an abundance of social events to solidify team bonds.

Working with senior members of the team

Cristiana Mitrofan, second seat trainee

Cristiana MitrofanSince joining Fox Williams in March 2020, I have had very few days in which I have not worked directly with a partner, senior associate or legal director. Senior members of my team take time to give me feedback, which contributes to my learning and professional development. For example, one of the partners called me after a client meeting to explain why he advised the client in the way that he did and what legal and commercial factors he considered.

I have a weekly chat with one of the legal directors, which was organised to give me an opportunity to ask questions and discuss my progress. This is in addition to the regular meetings I have with my supervising partner and with my mentor. I think the regular contact with the senior members of the team, which means I learn directly from the best lawyers in their fields, and their genuine interest in my development is one of the best things at Fox Williams.

The journey to becoming an NQ

Charlotte Kong, Associate

CharlotteAt the beginning of your fourth seat, you will need to start thinking about qualification. This can be a bit of a daunting prospect, but the benefit of a firm like Fox Williams is that there should be plenty of friendly faces around the firm to whom you can look to for guidance and support. The first resource you might want to use will be fellow trainees who have recently gone through the process themselves to become NQs. I also found that my mentor and partner supervisors were a great help when it came to tough decisions!

It is important that you remain as open and communicative as possible with HR in terms of where you are interested in qualifying as you progress through your seat rotations. This way, they will be armed with as much information as possible so that they can try to accommodate everyone’s needs. If you know that there is a particular area or department that you have your heart set on, it is also a really good idea to speak up and let the partners and HoD in that department know!

The social aspect of life

Karin Troiani, third seat trainee

Karin TroianiAs an incoming trainee the social aspect of your next two years will be the least of your worries. At Fox Williams you quickly realise how crucial this element is and how much support it provides. My first taste of the firm’s inclusiveness and openness was on a Friday evening, sipping wine and meeting the firm’s partners and associates. The weekly wine club is a must for many. It is a way to interact with everyone, catch up about work and weekend plans over an exquisite glass of wine or prosecco.

If you are the athletic type, you might enjoy the regular yoga sessions or push your limits with a HIIT workout on a Friday morning which was organised to keep the firm fit and connected during the 2020 lockdown period. The firm cares about your physical well-being as well as your mental one by promoting conversations on mental health, emotional competency, postural training and more. These are in addition to commercial awareness webinars and ted talks which are a great way to keep your current awareness up to date. Usually held at lunch time, they provide everyone the opportunity to join, spend some time together and contribute. For trainees this is also the perfect time to plan the next trainee breakfast, which usually takes place once a month at a location of our choice.

The Social & Charity and the Diversity & Inclusion committees are known for organising eventful evenings at the firm, finding a creative way to support our preferred charity. These include quiz nights, bingo nights and cooking books. We also hold various celebrations which highlight the firm’s cultural differences.

Why I applied for a training contract

Imogen Jain, Associate 

I chose to apply to Fox Williams for three key reasons: firstly I wanted to train at a slightly smaller firm which still offered a full complement of city services. There were not many firms in the city which would fit this first criteria which was by far the most important to me. Secondly, I wanted to be in a firm that saw the value of trainees working directly for both partners and associates. Thirdly I wanted to go to a firm where there would be the opportunity to experience a wide variety of work – all Fox Williams’ departments have very diverse practices which means that as a trainee and as part of a small cohort you are able to access work which would normally be handed to associates.

Once I had applied for the firm and was accepted onto the Vacation Scheme, I could see the other positive attributes of the firm, such as its friendly, supportive environment and its focus on ensuring that the training that trainees receive sets us up for qualification.

A day in the life of a trainee

Anjali Aravindhan, Associate 

Anjali provides a flavour of what life was like in the office before working from home became a necessity, and before she qualified in September 2020.

09:00
I usually try to get into the office around 9-9:15am so I have a little bit of time to settle in (and grab a coffee!) before the usual start time at FW which is 09:30. Having checked my emails on my commute into the office, I usually respond to any urgent queries as soon as I get into the office. I also start the day by making sure my task list is up to date and try and plan out my day.

10:00
This morning is the weekly employment team meeting during which each member of the team will discuss their capacity for the week and this is usually a good opportunity to hear about the different matters that various members of the team are working on. I use this opportunity to let the team know that I have capacity to assist with new matters and this is a great way to try and get involved in a wide range of matters.

11:00
This morning I have been asked to review an employment contract for a new senior hire at a well-established client of ours. I start by reading through the contract and mark up the contract with my suggested amendments. I also prepare an email to the client summarising the key provisions and highlighting our key areas of concern. I then send these drafts on to my supervisor for review.

13:00
Lunch. A few of the trainees have decided to grab lunch together today from our favourite pasta bar in Broadgate circle. This is a nice way to catch up with the trainees in other departments at the firm and allows us to step away from our desks for a bit.

13:45
Back to my desk and time to start preparing bundles for an upcoming employment tribunal hearing. Bundling is a key task that trainees are often asked to assist with. It involves putting together a folder or folders of all the documents that will need at the hearing so it is very important that this is done correctly. This often involves a large number of documents so careful attention is needed.

15:30
My supervisor comes back to me with comments on the employment contract I had marked up earlier that day. After discussing the changes, I send off the documents to the client.

16:00
The partner with whom I share on office with has just asked if I would like to join a client call and take a note. After a quick introduction on the background of the matter, I sit in and take a note of the call. Following the call, I help the partner prepare a follow up note to the client summarising the advice given during the call.

18:30-19:30
I usually leave the office around this time depending on my workload. I make sure all my time recording narratives are completed before heading out. I head home after a busy and fascinating day looking forward to the week ahead.

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